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Drunk driver gets 4 years in crash injuring police officer and K-9 death

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NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Prosecutors have announced that a drunk driver who caused a crash on Rivers Avenue that led to the death of a K-9 and injured a police officer has been sentenced to four years in prison. 

Solicitor Scarlett A. Wilson announced that Richard Shore, Jr. pleaded guilty on Monday to felony DUI resulting in great bodily injury. Judge Bentley Price sentenced Shore to 12 years but suspended the sentence to 4 years of active prison time with 4 years of probation to follow. 

According to the solicitor’s office, the guilty plea arose shortly after a trial jury was selected jury. 

Assistant Solicitor Lemuel Zeigler said on the night of Feb. 15, 2018 officer Brandon Van Ausdal of the North Charleston Police Department and his K-9 partner MOJO were responding to a burglary. 

A report states that Shore was driving on Rivers Avenue, failed to yield to the blue lights and tried to cross the four lanes of Rivers ahead of Officer Van Ausdal, causing the crash. 

“The collision knocked unconscious Officer Van Ausdal,” officials with the solicitor’s office said. “After bystanders were able to awaken him, Van Ausdal stumbled to the passenger side door to check on his partner, MOJO, but was unable to get into the vehicle.” 

Van Ausdal was taken to the MUSC and stayed in the intensive care unit for over three nights suffering severe head injuries and multiple other injuries. 

MOJO was taken to the emergency veterinarian and had to be euthanized. 

“Officer Van Ausdal did not get to see Mojo again after the accident, which compounded his anguish,” the solicitor’s office said. 

Shore refused to provide a blood or urine sample for testing, according to prosecutors. 

“Troopers with the Highway Patrol were able to secure a blood draw by search warrant and the Defendant’s blood alcohol content came back as a .157, nearly twice the legal limit,” prosecutors said. Officer Van Ausdal still suffers from injuries, including migraines, as a result of this car wreck. He has worked hard to resume working full time as a police detective in another state. He does not remember anything from that night or the subsequent three months. He also had shoulder surgery to repair a torn left labrum.” 

Van Ausdal explained during sentencing that the hardest part of this is the thought that he was not able to protect his partner MOJO that night, prosecutors said. 

He also told Judge Price that he suffers from retrograde amnesia and cannot remember his own wedding. 

“The State opined that an appropriate active prison sentence was between 8 and 12 years, noting that the Victim requested the maximum 15-year sentence,” officials with the Ninth Solicitor’s Office said. “The Defendant offered an apology to Officer Van Ausdal and MOJO during his guilty plea and his attorney, Beau Seaton, ultimately asked for a 3-year sentence. Judge Bentley Price acknowledged the gravity of the reckless decision by the Defendant to drive drunk that evening and sentenced him to 12 years, suspending the sentence to 4 years active time followed by 4 years of probation.” 

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