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Driver Charged With DUI In Crash That Killed Downstate Cop, Police Dog

PONTIAC, Ill. (STMW) -- A man has been charged with DUI after his vehicle struck a squad car, killing a police officer and his K-9 partner on I-55 in downstate Illinois on Wednesday night, according to police.

Jason C. Collins, 33, was charged with aggravated DUI, according to Illinois State Police.

Collins was driving under the influence when his pickup left the road and struck a marked police car in the center crossover on I-55 north of Route 23 about 9:30 p.m., killing Pontiac police Officer Casey J. Kohlmeier and his K-9 partner Draco, according to police.

Officer Casey Kohlmeier and Draco
Officer Casey J. Kohlmeier and his partner Draco (Photo credit: Pontiac police)

Collins, of South Carolina, was taken into custody when after being discharged from a hospital Thursday night, according to state police. He waived extradition and was taken to Livingston County Jail for arraignment.

Kohlmeier, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, was hired by the Pontiac police force in January 2007 and was assigned to the Livingston County Pro-Active Unit, the statement said.

"Casey was a dedicated, honorable employee who was deeply committed to law enforcement and to the community. He will be greatly missed," a statement from Pontiac police said.

"The men and women of the Illinois State Police join me in offering sincere condolences to the Pontiac Police Department on the tragic loss of Police Officer Casey Kohlmeier and his beloved canine partner," ISP Director Hiram Grau said in a statement.

"Our thoughts and prayers are also extended to Officer Kohlmeier's family, friends, fellow officers and the Pontiac community," Grau said.

Pontiac is located about 60 miles southwest of Joliet.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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