Lakewood police officer a Web celebrity after helping ducks cross highway

An act of kindness caught on video has transformed Dustin Carrell from a friend of the web-footed into a Web folk hero. Animal lovers from as far as Wisconsin, Louisiana and Italy are praising the Lakewood police officer for safely leading a family of ducks across Highway 512 during the Monday morning commute.

A fan of the University of Oregon Ducks hailed him. A prosecutor in Snohomish County said the video “had our whole office clapping.”

The 28-year-old says he didn’t do anything special.

“I’m an animal lover,” he said Wednesday. “A lot of people associate police with protecting humans, but we also have a responsibility to protect animals.”

Carrell was off duty Monday near Parkland, driving his patrol car back to the station. About 9 a.m., he noticed a car stopped in the westbound highway’s left lane near I-5. Carrell saw a mama duck and about 10 ducklings near the median.

The other car drove off, and Carrell positioned his vehicle to shield the ducks. Eventually, the family began its trek across three lanes of traffic.

One duckling veered from the group, so Carrell set off his air horn. It made all the ducks sit and got the little one back in line, he said. Carrell then got out of his car to escort them across an exit lane, and the group found its way safely into a ravine.

When it was done, Carrell dropped off his patrol car and drove to Oregon with his wife and daughter to visit relatives.

A state Department of Transportation camera captured his good deed, and the video spread on the Internet.

Carrell said friends and family began calling to tell him about his stardom. He checked the computer and found the video was on 20 or so Web sites.

By 5 p.m. Wednesday, the duck video had more than 98,000 views on

Word also spread to Carrell’s colleagues at the Lakewood Police Department, which got about 25 e-mails from people thanking him, said Police Chief Bret Farrar.

“Just when I’ve about lost all faith in the human race, your officer has restored some of it with a simple act of kindness,” wrote a person named S. Burchardt from Portage, Wis.

The department plans to give Carrell a certificate of appreciation, along with some good-­natured joshing.

Farrar said Carrell has a new nickname: Ducky. A flier with a picture of ducks and a proposed motto for the department is also circulating around the station.

It reads: “We never duck our responsibilities!”

Talk to us

More in Local News

Andy Illyn, 37, left, recieves his badge from his son Phoenix Illyn, right, as he is sworn in as the new Mukilteo Police Chief at Mukilteo City Hall in Mukilteo on Monda. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Mukilteo’s new police chief, 37, has ‘big shoes to fill’

Off the job, Andy Illyn is a martial artist and a card artist. And he goes by “Dad.”

Kamiak High School is pictured Friday, July 8, 2022, in Mukilteo, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Ex-Kamiak football coach charged with sexual abuse of student

Julian Willis, 34, preyed on a Kamiak student from November 2022 to March, prosecutors allege.

This photo provided by OceanGate Expeditions shows a submersible vessel named Titan used to visit the wreckage site of the Titanic. In a race against the clock on the high seas, an expanding international armada of ships and airplanes searched Tuesday, June 20, 2023, for the submersible that vanished in the North Atlantic while taking five people down to the wreck of the Titanic. (OceanGate Expeditions via AP)
A new movie based on OceanGate’s Titan submersible tragedy is in the works: ‘Salvaged’

MindRiot announced the film, a fictional project titled “Salvaged,” on Friday.

Craig Hess (Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office)
Sultan’s new police chief has 22 years in law enforcement

Craig Hess was sworn in Sep. 14. The Long Island-born cop was a first-responder on 9/11. He also served as Gold Bar police chief.

Cars move across Edgewater Bridge toward Everett on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023, in Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edgewater Bridge redo linking Everett, Mukilteo delayed until mid-2024

The project, now with an estimated cost of $27 million, will detour West Mukilteo Boulevard foot and car traffic for a year.

Lynn Deeken, the Dean of Arts, Learning Resources & Pathways at EvCC, addresses a large gathering during the ribbon cutting ceremony of the new Cascade Learning Center on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023, at Everett Community College in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
New EvCC learning resource center opens to students, public

Planners of the Everett Community College building hope it will encourage students to use on-campus tutoring resources.

A suspected hit and run crash Wednesday morning left a pedestrian dead on I-5 north near Marysville. (Washington State Patrol)
Suspected hit and run crash on I-5 near Marysville leaves 1 dead

State patrol responded to reports of a body on the right shoulder of I-5. Two lanes were closed while troopers investigated.

Representative Rick Larsen speaks at the March For Our Lives rally on Saturday, June 11, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Larsen: ‘Fractured caucus’ of House Republicans is ‘unable to lead’

Following removal of the House speaker, a shutdown still looms. Congress has until Nov. 17 to devise a spending plan.

Spada Lake is seen from Culmback Dam on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023, near Sultan, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Helicopter crash in Copper Lake sparks environmental, health concerns

Rangers hadn’t heard of fly-in tourism in the area — which can harm the wilderness and people downstream, advocates say.

Man charged with dealing fentanyl pills that led to Arlington overdose

Prosecutors charged Robin Clariday with controlled substance homicide. He allegedly handed Bradley Herron the pills outside a hotel.

Seattle woman identified in fatal Highway 99 crash

Elena Mroczek, 74, was killed Sunday in a crash involving a 19-year-old.

A memorial for a 15-year-old shot and killed last week is set up at a bus stop along Harrison Road on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Rival gang members charged with killing Everett boy, 15, at bus stop

The two suspects are accused of premeditated first-degree murder in the death of Bryan Tamayo-Franco, 15.