DUI Suspect tries to drown K-9
Drunken-driving suspect tries to drown police dog before arrest
By Susan Shroder
Originally published 10:08 a.m. January 25, 2009, updated 11:47 a.m., January 26, 2009
CARLSBAD — A drunken-driving suspect who fled on foot into a lagoon refused to surrender and tried to drown a police dog before he was arrested, police said Sunday.
Lavar Toosweet McKiernan, 24, (not 34 as previously reported) was taken to Tri-City Hospital in Oceanside, where he was being held under guard Sunday morning, police said.
He will be booked into county jail on charges of felony driving under the influence, felony evading causing injuries, and attempting to harm a police dog, said Carlsbad police Lt. Marc Reno.
Shortly before 1 a.m. Sunday, Carlsbad police Officer Samantha Alexander tried to stop McKiernan at Carlsbad Boulevard and State Street, near the Army and Navy Academy, after his vehicle nearly crashed into three parked cars, Reno said. The car's headlights were not on, Reno said.
McKiernan drove off with Alexander in pursuit, Reno said. He rear-ended a vehicle and ran into a telephone pole before fleeing into the Buena Vista Lagoon west of Carlsbad Boulevard, about a half-mile from where the chase began.
Other Carlsbad police officers, along with an Oceanside police dog and the San Diego Police Department's Able helicopter, responded to the lagoon. The helicopter spotted the suspect hiding in about 4 feet of water, Reno said.
The suspect was given several chances to surrender but refused, Reno said.
Several Carlsbad police officers went into the water, along with the dog, and McKiernan tried to drown the dog three times before he was arrested, a police dispatcher said.
The dog was not injured.
A 44-year-old man whose vehicle was rear-ended during the chase was taken to Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla for treatment of injuries, Reno said.
McKiernan's driver's license listed his hometown as Newport News, Va., a dispatcher said.