Franklin K9 memorial service Thursday; driver pleads not guilty in crash

A Kentucky man entered a plea of not guilty in Franklin Municipal Court Tuesday afternoon during an arraignment hearing on three felony charges in connection to a Saturday morning wrong-way crash with a Franklin police cruiser.

K9 Fury died as a result of the collision on South River Street during which two police officers and the driver suffered minor injuries.

Michael Thomas Sims, 21, of Nicholasville, Kentucky, appeared in a video arraignment Tuesday where Judge Ronald Ruppert increased his bond from $600,000 to $750,000 cash or surety and ordered him placed on electronic monitoring if released on bond.

A preliminary hearing for Sims was set for Nov. 21. At that time, the judge will determine if there is enough evidence to bind over the case to a Warren County grand jury for review.

Sims is held in the Warren County Jail for two counts of felonious assault of a police officer, both first-degree felony offenses; and assault of a police dog, a third-degree felony, according to the Franklin Municipal Court clerk’s office.

Franklin police Chief Adam Colon was among several in the department who attended Tuesday’s arraignment hearing.

Preliminary investigation shows the cruiser was headed southwest on South River Street near West Seventh Street around 10:40 a.m. Saturday when a 2015 Jeep Patriot began driving on the wrong side of the road at high speed, said Ohio State Highway Patrol Sgt. Bridget Matt.

The Jeep was traveling the wrong way at about 70 mph, about 45 mph above the posted speed limit, Matt said.

The officer driving attempted evasive action but the cruiser was struck by the Jeep before traveling off the roadway and hitting a tree, according the highway patrol.

Colon said both officers, Alex Butler and Eric Miller, had minor injuries and were sent to a local hospital for treatment and later released.

Sims was transported to Atrium Medical Hospital in Middletown, also for minor injuries. He was arrested by the highway patrol and later booked into the jail.

K9 Fury was taken to MedVet for his injuries but died at the vet around 11:30 a.m. Saturday.

Franklin police said both officers are expected to return to duty soon.

Matt said there may be additional charges filed against Sims.

Fury was sworn into the department on Jan. 3, 2022, after completing his training with Butler, his handler, in late 2021. The K9 was cremated and his ashes will stay with Butler, according to police.

The young German shepherd was a patrol K9 trained in apprehension, tracking and drug detection. Fury would have turned 4 on Jan. 2.

A memorial service has been set for noon at New Vine Community Church, 4900 Ohio 123. Franklin police said a procession will take Ohio 123 to downtown Franklin with the route turning right on Main Street, right on East Fourth Street to Lower Springboro Road where the procession will end.

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