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Illinois Police K-9 Dies Following Cruiser Crash

A Peru, Ill. police dog died following a cruiser crash Saturday while responding to an armed robbery.

K-9 Kali and handler Officer Art Smith were headed north on Route 251 around 6:49 p.m. into an intersection through a red light with his lights and siren activated when another vehicle struck their cruiser on the passenger, according to The News Tribune.

The police dog was ejected from the vehicle and succumbed to its injuries around 8 p.m. Kali was added to the police department last fall and was trained for narcotic detection, pursuit, tracking and crime scene search.

Officers are expected to honor their fallen comrade on Thursday during a memorial service.

Smith was transported to Illinois Valley Community Hospital in Peru and later released.

Neither the K-9 officer nor the driver of the other vehicle is expected to be charged in the wreck.

"It's just one of those very unfortunate things," Police Chief Doug Bernabei told the newspaper.

"On behalf of Art and Kali and everyone here at the police department, I want to extend my appreciation for the overwhelming amount of support we've received from the community, not just in Peru but in the entire Illinois Valley area and beyond. We’ve received thousands of Facebook postings, calls and e-mails. This has touched a lot of people and we appreciate the support."

The investigation of the collision has been turned over to Illinois State Police.