An Indiana State Police K9 was used to apprehend a burglary suspect south of Paoli, and in the process may have saved his life.
At approximately 5:00 P.M., a deputy with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department was patrolling County Road 250 East and observed an active burglary in progress at 6226 South County Road 250 East, Paoli.
Upon arrival, the deputy placed Angel Sue Smith, 35, Mitchell, into custody; however, Mark Lee VanDyke, 47, Mitchell, had barricaded himself within the crawlspace of the home and crawled into the trailer’s flexible duct work to hide.
Around 6:14 P.M., Trooper Robert Lambert and his K9 “Diesel”, who were off-duty at the time, responded to the scene to assist.
Numerous attempts were made to contact VanDyke utilizing the public address system in their police cars.
At 7:20, the decision was made to send Diesel into the crawlspace. Diesel was able to locate VanDyke hiding inside an air conditioning ductwork, and bit VanDyke.
VanDyke agreed to come out of the crawlspace; however, was stuck inside the duct.
In an effort that took nearly an hour, Trooper Lambert and Orange County Deputies pulled approximately 30 feet of the duct from the crawlspace, and subsequently cut away the duct to remove VanDyke. VanDyke was found to be in a near hypothermic state due to the cold, wet conditions he was in, and had nearly suffocated while positioned inside the venting. Officers believe that were it not for Diesel locating VanDyke, a more grave outcome could have been possible.
VanDyke was placed into custody and was transported to IU Health of Paoli. After being medically cleared around 9:30 this evening, VanDyke was transported and lodged in the Orange County Jail. Smith was transported from the scene and lodged in the Orange County Jail.