An off-duty North Charleston police officer, and a North Charleston police K9 were killed in separate crashes Thursday night.
News 2 has learned that the off-duty officer, 31-year-old Ryan MacCluen, died in a wreck on Ladson Road in Summerville.
According to Dorchester County coroner Paul Brouthers, MacCluen was riding his personally-owned motorcycle, and wearing a helmet, when the collision occurred.
Sources tell News 2 that the other driver involved was charged with driving under the influence.
“Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of Officer Ryan MacCluen,” said Mayor Keith Summey in a statement.
“You remain in our thoughts and prayers.”
“The City of North Charleston is deeply saddened by this loss, as Ryan was a respected member of the North Charleston Police Department and a friend to many.”
“He will be sincerely missed.”
“We too grieve for the loss of Mojo, a K9 of the department. Two-legged or four, all working in police service are considered officers.”
“We wish Mojo’s handler, Officer VanAusdal, a speedy recovery.”
“Any city support needed will be provided to our officers during this time of bereavement.”
Hero Down: North Charleston K9 Mojo Killed By Drunk
By Sandy Malone, Blue Lives Matter
North Charleston, SC – North Charleston Police K9 Mojo was killed on Thursday night when a drunk driver crashed into the patrol vehicle he was riding in.
North Charleston Police Officer Brandon VanAusdal and his K-9 partner Mojo were rushing to a call when an SUV pulled out in front of VanAusdal’s cruiser, causing a collision, the Post and Courier reported.
Police said that Officer VanAusdal was responding to a burglary on Rivers Avenue, coding to the scene using lights and sirens, when a GMC Yukon crossed in front of him at the Gumwood Boulevard intersection.
Officer VanAusdal’s police vehicle struck the passenger side of the SUV, and K9 Mojo was mortally wounded.
K9 Mojo was transported to a veterinary clinic, where he died. His partner, Officer VanAusdal, was hospitalized following the collision.
Police arrested 37-year-old Richard Joseph Shore and charged him with felony DUI with great bodily injury, South Carolina Highway Patrol Lance Corporal David Jones said.
Shore suffered only minor injuries, but the charges against him carry 30 days and 15 years in prison.
Officer VanAusdal, who has been a North Charleston officer since November 2011, remained in a hospital on Friday morning, the police said.
“We too grieve for the loss of Mojo, a K-9 of the department,” North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey said. “Two-legged or four, all working in police service are considered officers.”
K9 Mojo served the North Charleston Police Department for five years.
— Ashley Blackstone (@ashblackstone) February 16, 2018
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of North Charleston Police K9 Mojo, both blood and blue. Godspeed, we will take the watch from here.
Thank you for your service.
“Our hearts are heavy this morning as we mourn the loss of our family members, Officer Ryan MacCluen and K9 MOJO,” said Chief Reggie Burgess in a statement.
“Both died overnight in two separate incidents.”
“Officer MacCluen, who has been with the department since August 2016, died when the motorcycle he was driving was hit by a vehicle in Summerville last night.”
“Officer MacCluen was assigned to the Uniform Patrol Division North Evening Shift Team 2.”
“His co-workers describe him as someone who loved being a police officer and a friendly person that always had a smile on his face.”
“Officer MacCluen volunteered his time with the Cops Athletic Program’s Powder Puff Football League as well as a SWAT Support team member.
“He loved the opportunity to give back to the community he served. Officer MacCluen was a 9-1-1 Dispatcher for Charleston County for 3 years, prior to joining NCPD.”
“K-9 MOJO passed away overnight as a result of a collision that he and his handler K9 VanAusdal were in.”
“Officer VanAusdal was responding to a call of a burglary in process.”
“The officer was transported to MUSC for treatment and remains hospitalized. K9 MOJO was transported to an Emergency Vet Clinic where he succumbed to his injuries.”
“K-9 MOJO served the department and citizens of North Charleston for more than 5 years. PFC VanAusdal has been with the department since November 2011.”
“I ask that each of you keep the families of our beloved Brothers MacCluen and K9 MOJO in your thoughts and prayers.”
“And we pray for a full and speedy recovery for PFC VanAusdal. You can rest assured that the department, as well as the city, will be there for them during this difficult time.”
Editor’s Note: Please join us in prayer for the family Officer Ryan MacCluen, the North Charleston Police, and Officer Officer Brandon VanAusdal. K9 Mojo, rest easy boy.