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Keesler cop encounters fugitive

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. (AFPN) -- A security forces Airman and his canine partner escaped severe injuries recently when a sport utility vehicle driven by a fugitive rolled over the Airman’s patrol car near here.

Staff Sgt. Daniel Short, an 81st Security Forces Squadron patrolman, and Bobby, a 5-year-old German shepherd narcotics detection dog, were less than halfway through their 12-hour shift recently when a Chevy Trailblazer rolled up the hood and across the roof of his patrol car, smashing the windshield and knocking him out.

Minutes earlier, Sergeant Short and Bobby were responding to a fire alarm at a student dormitory when the dispatcher redirected them to a base-housing area to help local police officers in their pursuit of a fugitive, Sergeant Short said.

The pursuit began when police attempted to serve the man with warrants for his arrest. He was sought by Louisiana authorities and the U.S. Marshals Service for two counts of assaulting a law enforcement officer and two counts of processing and distributing methamphetamine, officials said.

Shortly after Sergeant Short and Bobby entered the housing area, he saw the fugitive coming right at him.

“I slammed on the brakes, realizing that a head-on collision would be a lot worse if both of us were moving,” he said.

At the same time, a local policeman threw stinger spike strips into the SUV’s path in an attempt to blow out its tires, but the fugitive spotted the spikes and swerved to avoid them. It was then that he lost control.

The vehicle zigzagged from one curb to the other before spinning sideways in the road and rolling over the patrol car, coming to rest 15 feet beyond it.

Remarkably, the fugitive crawled from the wreckage of the SUV and continued his escape attempt by jumping into a bay on the north side of the base. Local police fished him out of the water and took him into custody, officials said.

Meanwhile, Sergeant Short, who was momentarily knocked out by the force of the collision, came to his senses.

"I don't know how long I was out," he said. "My hands were cut. There was glass everywhere from my shattered windshield."

The car radio still worked, so Sergeant Short said he called the 81st SFS dispatcher.

"I reported what happened, asked him to call my wife and asked him to get a vet for Bobby," he said.

The base veterinarian examined Bobby at the scene and said he was, "OK, just shook up."

An ambulance took Sergeant Short to the emergency room here where he was treated for cuts and bruises and sent home.

Three days later, Sergeant Short and Bobby were back on duty. That night, they busted a drunk driver, he said.

"You can't keep us down. We have a job to do," Sergeant Short said.

The fugitive now faces additional charges of assault on law enforcement officers for injuries sustained by Sergeant Short and two local policemen during the chase. (Courtesy of Air Education and Training Command News Service)

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