WHITLEY COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) — The Whitley County prosecutor has filed charges against the man police say was behind the wheel of a car that crashed into a Whitley County Sheriff’s car, killing a K9, along U.S. 30 in July.
Clarence Shearer, 31, of Fort Wayne faces charges of felony unlawful possession of a firearm, causing death of a law enforcement animal while operating a motor vehicle, resisting law enforcement, and criminal recklessness with a firearm. Charges were filed Wednesday in Whitley Circuit Court.
According to the affidavit of probably cause, Shearer had THC and fentanyl is his his system at the time of the crash. The court documents also state that Shearer told the passenger his his car that he “was going to die.”
The court documents say Shearer was leaving Chicago with his brother and “they were going fast.” Police allege Shearer stole a car at gun point in Plymouth, but Shearer denies that.
The documents also allege Shearer probably knew he was being followed by police, and seeing something metal in the roadway to deflate his tires. Shearer explained he swerved to miss it, and the next thing he remembers is being pulled away from the flames after he crashed the car. He said he did not realize he killed the K9.
According Indiana State Police, the crash was the result of a multi-county police chase. The pursuit began around 3:30 p.m. after a car was stolen at gunpoint near the LifePlex gym off U.S. 30 in Plymouth.
An Indiana State Police Trooper identified the car, a black Chrysler, traveling eastbound on U.S. 30 near Foxfarm Road and attempted to pull the car over near Meijer Drive in Kosciusko County. The car pulled over and a passenger got out, but then the driver sped away. According to the affidavit of probable cause, the passenger was Shearer’s brother. Police took the brother into custody at that time.
The driver refused to stop while being chased by several police departments on U.S. 30. The pursuit eventually entered Whitley County where a Whitley County deputy positioned his car to stop the Chrysler at the CR 450 intersection.
The Chrysler attempted to avoid the stop sticks and crashed into the deputy’s vehicle with K9 Cas inside. The crash caused the police car to burst into flames. Officers were unable to get the K9 out of the car and it died on the scene.
Court documents say Deputy Archbold threw stop sticks on U.S. 30, when he realized they were tangled in the roadway. When Deputy Archbold went to fix it, he saw Shearer heading his way.
In the court documents Deputy Archbold noticed the car was coming right for him, so he stopped what he was doing and ran. The deputy says he saw Shearer exit the car, and then gave him verbal commands. At this point other officers started to arrive, and they took Shearer into custody. Deputy Archbold turned his attention back to the K9 inside his car. Deputy Archbold and other officers attempted to extinguish the flames, but they would not go out. Deputy Archbold was pulled away from the car, because the flames got too hot and ammunition started to explode in the officer’s car. The deputy was not hurt.
The court documents say Deputy Archbold stayed at the scene until K9 Cas was moved to a veterinary clinic.
Shearer suffered minor injuries and was taken to a local hospital.
The department posted about the crash on Facebook saying, “It is with heavy hearts that Sheriff Gatton announces the passing of K9 Cas. Deputy Archbold was not injured in the incident.”
The Whitley County community mourned the loss of K9 Cas in the days after the crash.