Big Rig driver reunited with her furry co-pilot, Miss Kitty, following Banning crash that left both hospitalized

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At left, Miss Kitty is cradled by Mary Taylor as the two are reunited at a Thousand Palms animal shelter on Sept. 1, 2020, in a still from video shared by the Riverside County Department of Animal Services. At right, the scene of the Aug. 20, 2020, crash in Banning is seen in a photo provided by Taylor's son, Josh Taylor.

At left, Miss Kitty is cradled by Mary Taylor as the two are reunited at a Thousand Palms animal shelter on Sept. 1, 2020, in a still from video shared by the Riverside County Department of Animal Services. At right, the scene of the Aug. 20, 2020, crash in Banning is seen in a photo provided by Taylor’s son, Josh Taylor.

A woman who drives big rigs cross-country has been reunited with her treasured cat who accompanies her on trips after a crash in Banning left the trucker hospitalized for weeks, officials said Tuesday.

Mary Taylor of Arkansas and her companion, Miss Kitty, were resting in the truck’s sleeper cab as Taylor’s long-haul partner drove, when the crash occurred in the early morning hours of Aug. 20, according to the Riverside County Department of Animal Services.

Images from the scene show the big rig and a pickup truck collided on the 10 Freeway near Eighth Street. The semi-truck jack-knifed and spilled fuel, causing a lengthy freeway closure, Caltrans said.

California Highway Patrol said last month that the cause of the crash remained under investigation. Officials could not immediately be reached Wednesday for an update.

Taylor and Miss Kitty were both hospitalized following the crash, but veterinary staff determined the feline did not suffer serious injury. She did seem to be favoring her back right leg, and was given medication for potential pain or inflammation.

Taylor, however, was receiving treatment at a Coachella Valley hospital until last week, animal officials said.

She was reunited with her nearly 4-year-old cat — who Animal Services described as her “pride and joy” — last Tuesday, Sept. 1, at the county animal shelter in Thousand Palms where Miss Kitty was being cared for.

Animal Services shared a video of the pair reuniting with their first cuddles in weeks. Taylor’s daughter-in-law previously told authorities that Miss Kitty always accompanies Taylor on her trips.

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