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Mich. K-9 dies after fiery crash with DUI suspect, police say

K-9 Rex was described as “determined” and a “tremendous partner” to his handler

K-9 Rex lodd

Michigan State Police, FOX Nashville

By Mitchell Willetts
The Charlotte Observer

DETROIT — A suspected drunk driver slammed into a Michigan police SUV at high speed early Sunday before the car burst into flames, and the accident also resulted in the death of a K-9 officer.

According to Michigan State Police, an officer used his vehicle, a Chevrolet Tahoe, to block all lanes of a freeway ramp to stop people from driving into a section of flooded roadway that had “been closed for several hours.” But at around 1:05 a.m., a sedan “traveling at freeway speed” crashed into the Tahoe, causing serious damage to the back side of the vehicle, MSP photos show.

The black sedan, now a mangled mess, caught on fire, the trooper told dispatch in a call for help.

Moments later, Detroit firefighters were at the scene and rescued the driver and two passengers in the sedan, according to MSP. All three occupants were taken to an area hospital, with injuries ranging from “serious” to “critical.”

The K-9 handler had non-life threatening injuries to his legs, MSP said.

Authorities took the police K-9, named Rex, to an animal hospital for spine and leg injuries described as “severe,” but the dog soon died.

“Rex was a member of the Metro South Post and was known for his determination in searching for suspects and articles,” MSP said. “He was a tremendous partner to his handler and was an asset to the post.”

Investigators believe the driver of the black sedan was under the influence of alcohol. A blood sample was taken for testing, and MSP troopers and the crash reconstruction team are investigating the collision.

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