HOUSTON -- A major crash involving a Harris County Sheriff’s Office K9 Unit sent multiple people, including a deputy, to the hospital Tuesday morning.
The sheriff's office said Deputy Jason Denham remained in critical condition following surgery for trauma to the left side of his body.
The deputy was sent to the hospital by Life Flight after a crash on Beltway 8-North. According to Houston TranStar, the crash happened shortly before 8 a.m.
Deputies at the scene said a preliminary investigation indicated Deputy Denham slammed into the back of a Chevrolet Avalanche on the overpass at Mesa Road. His patrol car came to a stop against a concrete barrier while the truck he hit spun around and came to a stop.
The deputy was on the way to a training session at the time of the crash, the sheriff's office said.
"As he was proceeding, he had to effect evasive manevours for traffic in front of him," said Sheriff Garcia. "As a result, he became involved in a serious accident."
Firefighters surrounded the cruiser to free the wounded deputy.
"His injuries are considered to be critical. His condition is critical, but as I mentioned, doctors are hopeful to his recovery," said Sheriff Garcia.
Five people in the pickup truck were sent to various hospitals by ambulance, deputies said. Two of the wounded were said to have suffered minor injuries.
Another vehicle, a Kia, was also involved in the crash. The woman behind the wheel was not injured.
Deputies said another K9 unit had to be called in to subdue Denham's dog in the wrecked patrol car.
"When the dog saw his partner in the condition he was in, he became highly protective of his partner," said Capt. Darryl Coleman. "And that's to anyone, other K9 officers as well. They are trained at removing the dog and handling the dog. It was just that the dog was being extremely protective of his handler and the K9 officers were the proper people to come and deal with the dog."
The dog, named Sjors, was sent to a nearby vet to get checked out.
All westbound lanes of the toll way were closed for several hours.
An investigation into the cause of the crash is on-going.
The sheriff's office said Deputy Denham is a 10-year veteran of the force. He is married with children.