LEHI, Utah - A dog was hit by a Lehi Police cruiser Monday afternoon, and witnesses say the driver didn't stop.
Now as criticism pours in from the public, Lehi Police say they have an explanation.
They addressed the issue on the Lehi City Facebook page, saying it wasn’t an officer driving the vehicle. Rather, it was a mechanic taking the cruiser out to put some miles on it as part of a service.
Cameron Boyle, assistant to the Lehi City Administrator, said a dog that is normally on a leash but wasn’t at the time bolted into the street and collided with the vehicle.
Boyle said the mechanic kept driving because he was worried about being in a police vehicle.
“He was concerned about the appearance of a civilian driving a police car, obviously people that may have seen it happen wouldn’t know that he was a mechanic and that he was authorized to drive the car,” said Cameron Boyle, assistant to the Lehi City administrator.
Boyle said the mechanic called police immediately, and animal control personnel responded. But the dog had already been taken to a vet, where the owners decided to put the animal down due to the severity of the injuries.
The mechanic did come back to apologize to the family. The family says while they will miss their dog, they aren’t holding a grudge.
"No grudge," Jerry Zimmerman, the dog's owner, said. "Really, we should have had the dog tied up."
Lehi City Police say they will start training everyone to stop if another animal is ever hit, and that they will also starting putting decals on patrol cars to inform the public when a car is out of service.