COLUMBIA CITY — A two-vehicle accident Wednesday afternoon resulted in the death of the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department K9.
According to a news release by the Indiana State Police, officers were in pursuit of a man who allegedly committed an armed carjacking in Plymouth earlier in the day.
Shortly after, an Indiana State Police trooper spotted the vehicle traveling eastbound on U.S. 30 near Foxfarm Road in Kosciusko County. When other officers arrived, they attempted a high-risk traffic stop near Meijer Drive. However, the passenger exited the vehicle and the driver sped off, beginning a pursuit that continued eastbound on U.S. 30, the release states.
A Whitley County deputy positioned his vehicle, a 2019 Dodge Charger, in the intersection of U.S. 30 and CR 450W, setting up stop sticks in an attempt to end the pursuit.
The suspect allegedly swerved to avoid the stop sticks and collided with the squad car, striking it in the passenger side and sending it into the westbound lane of traffic. The vehicle burst into flames, and despite great effort, officers were unable to get the K9 patrol dog out of the Charger. K9 Cas was pronounced dead at the scene. Her handler, deputy Gary Archbold, was unharmed, according to the release.
The driver of the Chrysler received minor injuries and was transported to the hospital.
Both the eastbound and westbound lanes of U.S. 30 were closed for several hours while officers investigated the scene.
The pursuit and crash involved officers from the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department, Warsaw Police Department, Whitley County Sheriff’s Department, Pierceton Police Department, Winona Lake Police Department and Indiana State Police. The Columbia City Police Department, Columbia City Fire Department and Richland Fire Departments also responded to the scene.
Members of local law enforcement, first responders and the general public saluted a procession of 25 police cars that brought the remains of K9 Cas back to town in a tearful ceremony.
A full statement will be released by the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department after formal charges are made, according to a Facebook post on the department’s page.