K-9 officer dies in car crash, Florida police confirm

Deputies escorted the fallen K9’s body to Bluewater Bay Animal Hospital following the accident. (Source: Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office)
Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 5:14 AM HST
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NICEVILLE, Fla. (Gray News) – A K-9 officer in Florida died in a car accident Sunday evening.

The Niceville Police Department confirmed the death of K-9 Blue in a statement.

Blue’s handler, Sgt. Phillip Ritcheson, was taken to the Fort Walton Beach Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Deputies with the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office escorted the fallen K-9′s body to Bluewater Bay Animal Hospital following the accident. Deputies laid an American flag over Blue’s body and carried him inside the animal hospital while other deputies lined the parking lot and saluted Blue.

K-9 Blue with the Niceville Police Department died in a car accident Sunday evening.
K-9 Blue with the Niceville Police Department died in a car accident Sunday evening.(Niceville Police Department)

In a Facebook post, the sheriff’s office said carrying the fallen K9 officer was “an honor” and was a show of “love, honor, and respect for his service to the community.”

“We are so incredibly thankful his handler is going to be okay – but we know his heart is heavy, as is ours – with the loss of his devoted partner,” the sheriff’s office wrote in the post.

The Niceville Police Department thanked the sheriff’s office for their commitment to honoring Blue.

Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the accident. Officials have not yet provided further details on the crash.

Niceville is located just north of Destin and Fort Walton Beach in the Florida Panhandle.

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