NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A man charged in a crash that claimed the life of a North Charleston K-9 in February 2018 pleaded guilty this week to Felony DUI Resulting in Great Bodily Injury.
Officer Brandon Van Ausdal and his partner, K-9 Mojo, were responding to a burglary call – with the lights and sirens turned on – when 37-year-old Richard Shore Jr. crashed into their SUV along Rivers Avenue on the night of February 15, 2018.
An investigation revealed that Shore failed to yield and attempted to cross four travel lanes ahead of the officer when the crash occurred.
Officer Van Ausdal was knocked unconscious and taken to the Medical University of South Carolina where he spent three nights in the intensive care unit for a severe head injury and multiple other injuries.
His partner, K-9 Mojo, was taken to an emergency veterinarian where he had to be euthanized.
Shore Jr. was also taken to an emergency room and later released. According to Solicitor Scarlett Wilson’s office, Shore refused to provide a blood or urine sample for testing after the crash. But troopers with the South Carolina Highway Patrol “were able to secure a blood draw by search warrant” where he registered a .157, nearly twice the legal limit.
Solicitor Wilson announced Wednesday that Shore Jr. pled guilty to felony DUI resulting in great bodily injury and was sentenced to 12 years by Judge Bentley Price; however, the judge suspended the sentence to four years of active prison time followed by four years of probation.
Officer Audal still suffers from injuries following that crash, according to Solicitor Wilson. He has since resumed working as a police detective in another state and does not remember anything from that night or the three months that followed.
During Shore’s sentencing, the officer said the hardest part was the thought that he could not protect Mojo that night. He also told Judge Price that he suffers from retrograde amnesia and cannot remember his own wedding.
Officer Van Audal requested the maximum 15-year sentence in this case.