NICEVILLE, Fla. (WKRG) — Officials with the Niceville Police Department have confirmed that one of their K-9s has died after he and his handler were involved in a car crash on Sunday, Aug. 7.

According to police, Sgt. Phillip Ritcheson and K-9 Officer Blue were reporting for duty on Sunday when the crash occurred. The Niceville Police Department chief released a statement:

It is with a saddened heart that the Niceville Police Department has lost K-9 Officer Blue, to a traffic crash on Hwy 85 while he was reporting for duty at 17:51, on 8-7-2022. His handler and friend, Sgt. Phillip Ritcheson was transported to the Ft. Walton Beach Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The accident is being investigated by the Florida Highway Patrol. The Niceville Police Department appreciates all the help that has come from the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Department, Ft. Walton Police Department, Eglin Fire and Medical, Florida Highway Patrol, Niceville/Valparaiso Fire Departments, and Okaloosa EMS. We appreciate all the love and support that has been shown. Details of a memorial service will be announced in the near future.

Chief David Popwell, Niceville Police Department

Officials said they do not know what caused the crash.