MILFORD — An 30-year-old Rehoboth Beach man, described by police as being intoxicated, was charged with assault after punching a K-9 named Henk several times in an attempt to flee from the dog, police alleged Thursday.
The sequence unfolded at approximately 11:23 p.m. May 31 when a vehicle crashed into a pedestrian foot bridge after police attempted to make a traffic stop, according to the Milford Police Department.
Spokesman Detective Dwight Young said police first tried to pull the vehicle over after seeing several traffic violations in the area of Northwest Front Street and Maple Avenue. The vehicle continued traveling on Northwest Front Street at a high rate of speed, authorities said, before it crashed on Truitt Avenue.
Two passengers exited the vehicle and surrendered to police, Detective Young said.
Police alleged that the driver — Kevin A. Hardy fled on foot before K-9 Henk located him nearby.
According to police, K-9 Henk apprehended Mr. Hardy after he refused to obey commands. As Mr. Hardy tried to escape from the dog, authorities said, he allegedly punched the black-haired 5-year-old German Shepard several times.
At that point, police said, Mr. Hardy was Tasered and taken into custody. He refused treatment for injuries suffered during his apprehension by K-9 Henk, Detective Young said.
According to police, K-9 Henk suffered a minor injury treated by his handler and is back on duty.
“The Milford Police Department takes K-9 assaults very serious and treats the assault the same as it would a sworn uniform officer, Detective Young said.
He said there have been “a couple” K-9 assaults in the past three years. There are two K-9s and two handlers in the Unit, police said.
Investigation found Mr. Hardy was allegedly under the influence of alcohol and possessing 1.8 grams of marijuana, police said.
Police said they found that two passengers tried to get Mr. Hardy to stop the vehicle during the pursuit and did not conspire with him.
Charges included felony disregarding a police officer signal, second-degree reckless endangering (two counts), second-degree assault of a police K-9, DUI, possession of marijuana and multiple traffic offenses, police said.
Mr. Hardy was arraigned and sent to Sussex Correctional Institution in Georgetown in lieu of $6,225 secured bond.