Jennifer and Paul Bischoff's move to Dallas took an unexpected turn.
The couple, along with Jennifer's mother, their four children and two pets, were making the cross-country trek June 22 from Ohio, traveling on Interstate 20, when the back tires of their conversion van blew.
Jennifer Bischoff said she lost control of the steering wheel, and the van hit the concrete median with tremendous force.
"As hard as we hit, I thought somebody was dead," she said.
Everyone was OK, but they were all transported to local hospitals. The only two with nowhere to go were the family's dog and cat, Charlie and Sylvester.
Dallas County Deputy Jorge Vargas made sure they, too, would be OK.
"I promised the family that they were going to be taken care of and nothing was going to happen," said Vargas.
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He took them to the Dallas Animal Services, where the pets would receive care until the Bischoffs were able to retrieve them.
However, Vargas later learned the family had nowhere to go. The camping gear they had planned to use for a few days while Paul Bischoff worked to save enough money for a rental home was lost in the crash.
Vargas then paid for the family's first night in a motel.
"If it wouldn't have been for him we would have been in a lot worse off positions," said Jennifer Bischoff. "We could have ended up in a shelter that night, separated. There's no telling where we could have gone."
Vargas didn't stop there.
Out of his pocket, he paid for the animal shelter fees and retrieved the pets so that they could be reunited with the family at the motel.
"Seeing the kids and the way the family was very concerned about the animals, it touched me," said Vargas.
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"That was really hard and emotional, because there's so much bad stuff going on with the officers these days that people don't put out when there's good ones," said Jennifer Bischoff. "It's just awesome to know that there's still people like [Vargas]."
The family is still staying in a motel while Paul Bischoff finds work. Their plan is to move into a rental home and pay Vargas' kind act forward.