LA PLATA, Md. - The Charles County Sheriffs Office reported that on Saturday a K9 Officer and his two dogs were riding in a vehicle that was struck head-on by a second vehicle which was illegally passing a third vehicle. The officer was sent to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The two dogs received minor injuries. The three occupants of the other vehicle were sent to local hospitals with life-threatening injuries.
On Saturday, April 21 at 12:34 a.m., Cpl. R. Leukhardt, a Charles County Sheriffs K9 officer, was responding to a non-emergency warrant service call and was traveling east on Charles Street when a Chevrolet Cavalier traveling west attempted to pass a car on a double yellow line on the bridge over Zekiah swamp in Charlotte Hall, say police. The Cavalier struck the K-9 officers vehicle, a Volvo station wagon, head-on.
Cpl Leukhardt sustained non-life threatening injuries and was flown to the MedStar Unit at Washington Hospital Center for evaluation. Cpl. Leukhardts two police K9s were in the vehicle and sustained minor injuries. They are expected to return to service.
The three occupants of the Cavalier sustained life-threatening injuries. The front seat passenger, Timothy Allen Barnes, 20, of La Plata, was also flown to MedStar. The driver, Anthony Calvin Martin, 18, of La Plata, and the rear seat passenger, Richard Allen Staley, 21, of Waldorf, were flown to the Prince Georges County Hospital Center.
Cpl. Leukhardt was wearing his seatbelt and the dogs were secured in the back of the vehicle. Crash investigators have not determined whether the occupants of the Cavalier were wearing seatbelts.
Preliminarily, investigators have determined the cause of the crash is the Cavalier crossing the center line and passing in a no passing zone. Whether speed or any other factors contributed to the crash remains under investigation.
MedStar, US Park Police, and Maryland State Police helicopters transported the crash victims to the hospitals and another K9 handler responded for the dogs.
Cpl. R.H. Taylor of the Traffic Operations Unit is investigating.