Drunk driver injures Mo. officer, K9

By Harry Levins
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch

ST. LOUIS, Mo. A Fairview Heights police officer and his drug-sniffing dog are spending today as their fifth day of recuperating from injuries they suffered when a man accused of driving drunk smashed into a police crusier.

The officer is Jeff Hinson, 37, a veteran of almost three years with the department.

Shortly after 11 p.m. Sunday, Hinson was northbound on Illinois Route 159 in his cruiser. In the back seat was Kenny, a 2-year-old Belgian Malinois.

At the intersectionpf Route 159 and Interstate 64, a car made a sudden left turn in front of Hinson. The resulting collision left Hinson with cuts, bruises and potential back injuries. The dog was hurtled into the front windshield and bruised an eye.

Lt. Ted Harris said today that the driver of the other car was Edward W. Starns, 48, of O'Fallon, Ill. Harris said the Illinois State Police had reported Starns' blood-alcohol content as .21 percent more than twice Illinois' legal limit of .08.

Harris said Hinson's dog was one of two the other is a German Sherpherd named Kohl that his department had bought for drug detection and for tracking. Each cost $5,000 and spent weeks in training, in Texas and with the Belleville Police Department, Harris said. Advertisement

The dogs entered service in January. Since then, Harris said, "They've done real well."

Copyright 2007 St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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