The sled dogs probably crested at a speed of 10 mph as they crossed Interstate 90 at the South Billings Boulevard overpass. Conditions were suboptimal in the Montana city that night; the wind whipped, the asphalt was cold and wet snow was falling.
But the huskies seemed determined, and they were making good time - due in no small part to the lack of a musher on the back of their sled.
The gold runners glinted in the flashing lights of the Billings police officers' patrol cars as they approached the rogue dogsled from the rear.
"Myself and four-thirty [Officer Adams] are gonna be at the South Billings Boulevard overpass," Officer Dave Firebaugh radioed, "trying to stop a . . . dog sled? With, uh, no rider."
Firebaugh and Officer Jeremiah Adams made several attempts to wave the dogs down, but they could not be stopped. Firebaugh would pull his cruiser over in front of the dogs' path, attempt to coax them to him, and the dogs would blow right by him in their dead sprint across Billings.
Finally, in an attempt not captured by the dash cam, Firebaugh must have said the right thing. The anxious dogs, which reportedly were separated from their owner when the sled tipped and she fell off, can be heard off camera, whimpering as they walk over to him. Then the officer - part of a K-9 unit, himself - unloads a heap of praise.
"Hello, puppies," Firebaugh said. "Oh, my goodness, you are beautiful dogs. Where's your mama or daddy?"
This article was written by Angela Fritz, a reporter for The Washington Post.