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South Carolina Man Charged with Aggravated DUI in Pontiac Officer’s Death

A 33-year-old man from South Carolina was charged on Friday with drunken driving and reckless homicide following the accident that killed an off-duty Pontiac police officer and his police dog on Wednesday, October 30 on Interstate 55.

Jason C. Collins was charged with one count of reckless homicide, two counts of aggravated driving under the influence and 2 counts of DUI related to the death of Officer Casey Kohlmeier, 29, and his K-9 partner, Draco.

According to the charges, Collins was driving northbound on I-55 when he veered off the road and struck the police SUV, which was stationary in the median just north of Illinois 23.

State troopers found Kohlmeier unconscious. Both men were transported to the hospital in Pontiac, where the officer died at 10:46 pm, less than two hours after the accident. Collins was released Thursday and arrested. Draco died at the scene.

Collins told police he had been drinking at a bar before the accident, and video surveillance shows he was at the bar for five hours. His blood alcohol level was over the legal driving limit. He claimed to have fallen asleep while driving and awoken just before the accident.

Under Illinois law, Collins is eligible for up to 14 years on the most serious charge, aggravated DUI.

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