Alleged drunk driver blamed for crash that killed Illinois policeman and dog

Jason Collins (photo from Illinois State Police)

Jason Collins (photo from Illinois State Police)

A South Carolina man was charged in connection with a crash that claimed the life of a Pontiac, Illinois police officer and his K-9 partner.

Casey Kohlmeier and his partner, Draco, died when their patrol car was struck by a truck that left the northbound lanes of Interstate 55 Wednesday, October 30, 2013.

A spokesman for Illinois State Police said 33-year-old Jason Collins of West Columbia, South Carolina, was driving the pickup involved in the crash.  Police allege Collins was intoxicated when he drove off the road, into the median and crashed into the police vehicle.

Collins was hospitalized for injuries he suffered in the crash.  Police said he was arrested when he was discharged from the hospital October 31, 2013.  he was charged with aggravated driving under the influence.

Collins was held in the Livingston County Jail.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn instructed all entities covered by the Illinois Flag Display Act to fly flags at half-staff in honor of Kohlmeier starting Friday, November 1, 2013 and continuing until sunset Saturday, November 2.