On Tuesday, two days after he was run over by his own truck as it was being stolen from the parking lot of Pelican Donuts in Baton Rouge, David Mohr was finally able to walk again, briefly.

“I’ve taken a few steps, very gingerly, no weight on my right leg, a little bit of weight on my left and using a walker,” Mohr said from his hospital bed at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center.

When he tried to stand Sunday soon after the carjacking, it didn’t go so well. He promptly collapsed to the ground in excruciating pain. Mohr said the doctors at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center told him he has multiple fractures in his pelvis but aren’t sure yet whether he will require surgery or can heal through just rehab.

Mohr, however, would prefer not to talk about himself, but “my companion, my compadre,” Roleaux. The five-year-old 115-pound dog was in the back seat of his Toyota Tacoma that awful day, but was found dead the next day.

Mohr admitted he might have let the truck go and let police handle matters later if Roleaux hadn’t been in the truck. Instead, he confronted the car thief — later identified as a homeless woman, Leslie Aguillard, 30.

Mohr visited the doughnut shop on Antioch Road to get a hamburger for lunch. He left Roleaux in the car for a few minutes while his burger was being prepared. As he waited, he noticed a woman looking hard at his idling truck. When she shot out the door toward the vehicle, Mohr rushed after her, opening the truck door: “Get out. You’ve got my dog. Get out. I want my dog.”


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A witness told investigators that Aguillard then drove off, dragging Mohr until he fell. She then "quickly accelerated forward and ran over the victim's groin area," according to her arrest report.

The news the next day was heartbreaking.

Acting on a tip, authorities located Aguillard. The East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office arrested her on attempted second-degree murder, carjacking, theft of animals, cruelty to animals and simple criminal damage to property. She also had an outstanding misdemeanor bench warrant.

Aguillard directed officers to the truck in the 4900 block of South Sherwood Forest Boulevard. They found Roleaux dead inside. Aguillard admitted she’d locked the dog inside the truck. Roleaux later died of heat exhaustion, according to the report.

Although a self-admitted pessimist, Mohr was hoping fervently that Roleaux would be found and they'd be reunited.

Rolleaux

“You hear all these miracle stories where dogs find their way home and show up on their front door step,” he said.

But as news broke that Roleaux was found, Mohr began to get texts from friends saying they were sorry for him. He didn’t know for sure what had happened until his wife, Leslie, returned to the room and looked at him sadly, shaking her head. Without her saying, he said he knew.

“I called out his name, ‘Roleaux, Roleaux, Roleaux …’ ” Mohr recalled, tears welling in his eyes. “Roleaux’s only 5 years old. He’s only a kid. He’s not supposed to go this way.”

Mohr said he had a dog who’d died tragically in the 1980s and went almost three decades before getting another canine.

He had previously fostered a different dog for two weeks that had been at an animal shelter in Ascension Parish. In July 2014, the shelter sent him a picture of four-month-old Roleaux, who was scheduled to be euthanized, and asked if he’d consider fostering Roleaux as well.

Mohr recalled he was playing golf when he saw the picture of the puppy — a DNA test would later show he was half Weimaraner and a quarter Labrador. By the 18th hole, he decided to go for it.

Roleaux never went back to the shelter.

“I wanted a companion. My son was grown. My wife and I had this big house. It was just us and I thought I could give a dog a good home,” Mohr said. “And we could play fetch and go on bike rides and walks and go swimming and camping and boating and do things together.”

Mohr has many pictures and stories of his beloved Roleaux. One favorite thing to do was to ask Roleaux, “Are you a happy dog? Are you a happy dog?’ ”

“I read somewhere that the way you can tell how a dog feels about you is the way he looks at you and Roleaux had this look when he would look at me,” Mohr said, holding back tears. “It said, ‘I love you man. I love you.' ”

Mohr said he’s relived Sunday’s events repeatedly, wondering whether things could have played out differently. But he said he professes no regret.

“I don’t think I would have done anything differently,” Mohr said. “I’ve been in enough of these situations. What if, what if, what if I did this, what if I did that.”

Since the carjacking on Sunday, Mohr said, he’s received many offers of financial support, but said he doesn’t need any.

On Tuesday, he flagged on social media what he described as a fraudulent GoFundMe account someone had set up to try to raise money off his tragedy. A veteran of the U.S. Navy, Mohr said he expects that his medical bills will be covered.

Instead of accepting money for himself, Mohr said, he’s looking for a way to keep the memory of Roleaux alive, perhaps by raising money for animal shelters like the one where he adopted Roleaux.

“Shelter dogs, they are all about you, all about you,” he said.


Email Charles Lussier at clussier@theadvocate.com and follow him on Twitter, @Charles_Lussier.

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