St. Clair County, AL – Alabama Department of Corrections (DOC) K9 Hooch was killed in the line of duty as he was tracking a St. Clair County Jail escapee on Oct. 10.
K9 Hooch, a seven-year-old beagle, tracked the fugitive to Interstate 20 as he was assisting the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office (SCCSO) with their search, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
His human partner asked SCCSO deputies to block interstate traffic so K9 Hooch and the tracking team could cross the roadway, but an approaching tractor-trailer was didn't stop in time.
The driver of the semi-truck swerved around another vehicle, then hit K9 Hooch, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
The driver failed to stop at the scene, and SCCSO deputies were able to get into position to pursue the fleeing vehicle.
It was unclear whether or not the escapee K9 Hooch had been tracking was apprehended.
“#ADOC is deeply saddened to share that while tracking a lead for a fellow law enforcement agency today, K-9 Officer Hooch the Beagle lost his life in the line of duty in a vehicle accident,” the DOC tweeted later in the evening. “We will miss you, Hooch.”
K9 Hooch spent his entire life serving the Alabama DOC, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
"Hooch was a dedicated and invaluable team member, responsible for more than 300 catches throughout his ADOC career," the DOC said in a Facebook post. "Please keep Lt. Hill and Lt. Stefaniak, Hooch’s handlers, and his entire St. Clair Correctional Facility family in your thoughts."
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Alabama Department of Corrections, Lt. Hill, and Lt. Stefaniak in the loss of K9 Hooch.