Kansas City, MO – A veteran Kansas City police officer and his K9 partner were killed in a two-vehicle crash that also claimed the life of a pedestrian on Wednesday night.
The incident occurred in the area of Benton Boulevard and Truman Road shortly after 10:15 p.m. on Feb. 15, the Kansas City Police Department (KCPD) said in a press release on Thursday.
KCPD Officer James Muhlbauer and his partner, K9 Champ, were out on patrol when another motorist slammed into their vehicle, according to investigators.
The crash caused a secondary collision with a pedestrian.
K9 Champ and the pedestrian both succumbed to their injuries at the scene.
The critically-injured officer was rushed to the hospital, where he succumbed to his wounds.
“Doctors made every attempt at treatment but tragically he was declared deceased at the hospital,” the KCPD said.
The driver of the vehicle that crashed into the patrol car was taken into custody and suffered only minor injuries.
The driver’s identity was not immediately released.
Officer Muhlbauer was a 20-year veteran of the department and had been assigned to the K9 Unit for nearly three years, according to the KCPD.
He was also a husband and father.
K9 Champ had been with the department for one year.
Rest In Peace, Officer James Muhlbauer and K-9 Officer Champ.
The partners were killed in the line of duty Wednesday night when a vehicle crashed into them while they were on patrol.
Muhlbauer was a 20-year veteran of KCPD, while K-9 Champ was with us for one year.
— kcpolice (@kcpolice) February 16, 2023
“Please keep the officer’s family, the pedestrian’s family and the whole Kansas City Missouri Police Department in your thoughts and prayers as they deal with this terrible tragedy,” the KCPD said.
The agency’s Traffic Investigation Section is handling the ongoing investigation into the deadly crash.
Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas released a statement in the wake of the incident.
“This morning, our city mourns the loss of life of a twenty-year veteran of the Kansas City Police Department, along with an innocent civilian and a canine officer,” Lucas said in a tweet. “My prayers are with the families and friends of those we have lost and all of the women and men of law enforcement.”
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