A Peru, Illinois Police Department K-9 died in a crash that happened as he and his handler were responding to a robbery.
Officer Art Smith and his K-9 partner, Kali, were northbound on Route 251 with activated lights and sirens just before 7 p.m. Saturday, August 3, 2013, when their patrol vehicle approached 36th Street as the light turned red. The light was green for 36th Street traffic, and the patrol vehicle was reportedly broadsided by a westbound vehicle at 36th Street.
Peru Police Chief Doug Bernabei said the crash was so violent that the windows were shattered and Kali was ejected from the patrol car. Kali, a Belgian Manlinois, was pronounced dead at a veterinary hospital about an hour after the crash.
Smith was treated at an area hospital for injuries he suffered in the wreck. Police said the driver of the 36th Street vehicle was not hurt, and no charges would be filed for the crash.
Kali had been with Peru Police for almost two years. Smith has been with the department for 11 years.
Smith and Kali were among five officers in separate police vehicles on their way to a 9-1-1 call for an armed robbery that had just happened at the Verizon Wireless store north of Peru.
Bernabei said the robbery was believed to be the work of an organized crime group that has been robbing cell phone stores throughout the Midwest. He said his department would seek additional felony charges, for involvement in a crime that led to the death of a police dog, against anyone arrested for the robbery.
Thanks to our reporting partners at BCRNews.com for information in this story.