Driver ID’d in fiery Whitley County crash that killed K9 along US 30

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WHITLEY COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) — A Whitley County Sheriff’s Department K9 died after fiery crash on U.S. 30, west of Columbia City, Wednesday afternoon.

Clarence Shearer, 31, was taken into custody and booked into the Allen County Jail.

The driver was identified as Clarence Shearer, 31 of Fort Wayne. Shearer was taken into custody after being released from Parkview Hospital in Columbia City. Shearer will have charges pending related to the multi-county pursuit and subsequent crash that took the life of a Whitley County Sheriff’s Department patrol K9 at the conclusion of the investigation.

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.”

An alert from the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department said a two-vehicle crash happened around 4:05 p.m. at U.S. 30 and C.R. 450 West, between Larwill and Columbia City.

Previous mug shot of Clarence Shearer, 31.

Photos shared with WANE 15 show a sheriff’s cruiser fully engulfed in flames.

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 Foxrfarm 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.

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 a K9 patrol dog 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. The deputy was not hurt.

The driver of the Chrysler suffered minor injuries and was taken to a local hospital.

The westbound lanes of U.S. 30 remain closed while police continue to investigate. The eastbound lanes have been reopened. The westbound lanes are expected to reopen at approximately 8 p.m.

A memorial service to honor K-9 Cas will be held July 17 at 10:30 a.m. at the First Church of God, 1200 W. Depoy Drive in Columbia City. It will be open to the public.

Memorial donations can be made in Cas’s name to the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department K9 Fund, 101 Market St., Columbia City, IN 46725.

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