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Procession carries fallen K-9 officer Champ to Rolling Acres Memorial Garden

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A police procession Friday morning carried K-9 Officer Champ, who was killed in a car accident Wednesday night, from North Kansas City Animal Control to Rolling Acres Memorial Garden.

Champ was taken across the Kit Bond Bridge, which spans the Missouri River along Interstate 35/Interstate 29 just north of downtown, just before 10:30 a.m. Friday.

On the night of the crash, North Kansas City Police officers went to the scene and removed Champ, who died in the backseat of KCPD Officer James Muhlbauer’s car after being hit by a stoplight car red.

Muhlbauer later died of his injuries in the crash at a nearby hospital, and a pedestrian was also killed after being pinned under the police car.

NKC police officers rushed Champ to the hospital, then transported Muhlbauer and his K-9 to the coroner’s office.

The NKC Police’s K-9 unit, which includes three sworn officers, subsequently took Champ to the Animal Control Building, where the city’s K-9 unit took turns standing vigil until Champ’s procession .

KCPD Police Chief Stacey Graves identified Muhlbauer and Champ during an emotional press conference on Thursday.

The Jackson County Attorney’s Office announced Friday morning that Jerron Allen Lightfoot, 18, of Tonganoxie, was charged with two counts of manslaughter. He was allegedly driving nearly 85 mph when he ran through a red light heading south on Benton Boulevard and crashed into Muhlbauer’s vehicle as it headed east on Truman Road.

Missouri law defines involuntary manslaughter, a class C felony, as “recklessly” causing the death of a person. It is punishable by three to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

The K9 unit of the Franklin County, Kansas Sheriff’s Office joined several K9 units from throughout the Kansas City area in paying their respects to Champ.

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