PERU – A Peru Police Department dog died Saturday when the patrol car he was in was broadsided in an accident while he and his partner were responding to an armed robbery.
At 6:46 p.m., officers were responding to a 911 call reporting two men armed with handguns leaving the Verizon Wireless store north of Peru.
“Five on-duty officers were responding in separate vehicles,” Peru Police Chief Doug Bernabei said.
At 6:49 p.m., K-9 officer Art Smith and his partner, Kali, were northbound on state Route 251, lights and sirens on.
“They were approaching 36th Street, where the light had just turned red, and the light for the east and westbound traffic has just turned green,” Bernabei said.
The patrol vehicle entered the intersection and was broadsided by a westbound vehicle.
“The crash was so violent that parts of the passenger side doors were ripped from the vehicle; the windows exploded out and shattered; and Kali was ejected from the vehicle,” Bernabei said.
She was taken to a veterinary hospital in LaSalle, where she was pronounced dead. The Belgian Manlinois had been with the department almost 2 years.
Smith was treated and released at a Peru hospital. The driver of the other car was not injured, and no charges will be filed.
The robbery appears to be the work of an organized crime group that has been robbing cellphone stores throughout the Midwest, the chief said.