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Prosecutor files charges in fiery crash that claimed the life of police K9

COLUMBIA CITY, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) – Months after a fiery crash claimed the life of a Whitley County Sheriff’s Department K9, the prosecutor has filed charges against the driver.

Fort Wayne’s NBC previously reported that 31-year-old Clarence Shearer allegedly carjacked a vehicle in Plymouth and led officers on a multi-county chase that ended in a crash, killing Whitley County Sheriff’s Department K9 Cas back in July. 

The prosecutor’s office has been waiting on toxicology results before he would officially file charges.

On Wednesday, the Whitley County Prosecutor filed charges against Shearer, including operating a vehicle with a controlled substance causing the death of a law enforcement animal, possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, resisting law enforcement and criminal recklessness.

Court records indicate Shearer had THC and fentanyl in his system when on July 10th he led police officers on a high speed chase through parts of three counties, before officers say Shearer veered to miss stop sticks in the road in Whitley County and slammed into sheriff’s deputy Gary Archbold’s fully-marked police vehicle, causing it to catch fire.

Court papers say the fire burned so hot that it was causing ammunition in the trunk to explode.

The prosecutor in the case waited two months for blood test results.

“To make sure that I had a solid case, and once I felt confident in what the scientists were telling me, I felt comfortable moving forward,” said Whitley County Prosecutor D.J. Sigler.

If convicted on these charges, Whitley County Prosecutor D.J. Sigler signaled he would also seek a habitual offender enhancement at sentencing, which would add on jail time.

If convicted, Shearer could see a max of 32 years behind bars for those charges in Whitley County.

He’s also facing two counts of armed robbery, two counts of auto theft, theft, and unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon out of Marshall County in connection to the carjacking.

READ MORE: New details released in carjacking that led to pursuit, K-9 Cas’ death

It was on July 10th when police say Shearer pulled off an armed carjacking in Plymouth, Indiana, then led police on a high-speed chase through Kosciusko County and into Whitley County.

Sheriff’s deputy Gary Archbold parked in a cross-over along U.S. 30 and set up spike strips to stop the car.

Instead, Shearer–for an unknown reason– veered off the road and slammed into Archbold’s cruiser at high speed, touching off the deadly fire.

READ MORECommunity comes together to honor fallen K9 officer Cas

The deputy was unharmed. Shearer was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

While Shearer was being moved from the hospital to the jail following the police pursuit, he is accused in a brazen theft from an Indiana state trooper.

Shearer has a substantial criminal record and is linked to, among other things, battery, criminal confinement, firing a gun into a house, and failing to register as a sex offender.

Kayla Crandall

Kayla Crandall is an Emmy award-winning journalist. She serves as the Social Media and Digital Content Manager at WPTA. Follow her on Twitter @KaylerJayne.

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