Durham K9 officer injured after crash with suspected drunk driver

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The Wichita Eagle

A Durham K9 policeman was seriously injured Wednesday night after a suspected drunk driver struck his patrol car, police said Thursday.

Officer BK Gardner is hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries, police said in a press release.

Gardner was driving around 10:50 p.m. on Guess Road in a 2016 Dodge Charger when a 2016 Chevrolet Silverado driven by Byron Cinto-Lopez exited a stop sign in front of Gardner’s vehicle.

After the collision, Cinto-Lopez fled on foot from the scene but was arrested by DPD.

Cinto-Lopez, 33, was arrested and charged with impaired driving, hit-and-run and without a driver’s license, according to a press release.

Cinto-Lopez was uninjured and jailed last night on $ 7,500 bail, where records show he remained on Thursday.

Gardner’s assigned police dog, Choco, was not with him in the car at the time of the crash. Gardner and Choco, a Belgian Malinois, graduated from K9 training in 2018, according to a DPD report.

Choco is trained in the areas of tracking, drug detection, handler protection, and item and building searches.

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This story was originally published December 30, 2021 11:19 a.m.

Aaron Sánchez-Guerra is a breaking reporter for The News & Observer and has previously covered business and real estate for the newspaper. His experience includes reporting for WLRN Public Media in Miami and as a freelance journalist in Raleigh and Charlotte covering Latin American communities. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University, is native Spanish speaker, and was born in Mexico. You can follow his work on Twitter at @aaronsguerra.

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