Mishawaka Police Department
End of Watch: Saturday, January 9, 2010
Cause of Death: Vehicular assault
Incident Location: St. Joseph County
Handler: Corporal James Szuba (killed)
K-9 Ricky and his handler, Corporal James Szuba, were killed when their squad car was struck while assisting with a pursuit.
At about 9:20 pm, Corporal Szuba was proceeding northbound on Byrkit Avenue as it turns into Fir Road when his squad car was sideswiped by a drunken driver being pursued by another officer. The suspect had swerved around a vehicle parked at the stoplight at McKinley Highway when he hit the oncoming squad car of Corporal Szuba and K-9 Ricky, who were both killed instantly.
The 31-year-old suspect, who had a blood-alcohol content nearly three times the legal limit, was on probation for an 18-month sentence for delivery and manufacturing of marijuana. He was later convicted and sentenced to 32½ years for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated causing death, resisting law enforcement and possession of controlled substances.