Pontiac officer, 29, dies in accident that also claims K-9 partner
PONTIAC - A Pontiac police officer and his K-9 partner died late Wednesday when their patrol car was hit by another vehicle on Interstate 55 just north of Illinois 23 in Livingston County.
Police Chief Jim Woolford identified the officer as Casey Kohlmeier, 29, and his dog, Draco. The driver of the other vehicle, who was not identified, was hospitalized but police did not release his condition during a press conference shortly after 10 a.m. Thursday.
“It’s a sad day here,” Mayor Bob Russell told The Pantagraph. “I’ve been on the phone all morning. It’s just devastating. But it was an accident and he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Illinois State Police Director Hiram Grau also offered condolences on behalf of his department.
Police said Kohlmeier was assigned to the Livingston County proactive unit and was in his marked vehicle in a median turnaround when his car was struck shortly after 9:30 p.m. by a northbound vehicle.
Police would not provide additional details, but did confirm the second vehicle was not a semi truck trailer.
Kohlmeier, a U.S. Air Force veteran, joined the department in January 2007. He is survived by his parents, family members, loved ones and countless friends, the chief said.
The accident remains under investigation by Illinois State Police.