ShareThis Page
Westmoreland

Ligonier Township K-9 officer succumbs to cancer

Jeff Himler
| Tuesday, March 13, 2018, 6:00 p.m.
Ligonier Township K-9 officer Blek, injured in the head-on crash that killed Ligonier Township police Lt. Eric Eslary on Tuesday, May 5, 2015, died of cancer, Eslary's widow announced on Tuesday, March 13, 2018.
Tribune-Review
Ligonier Township K-9 officer Blek, injured in the head-on crash that killed Ligonier Township police Lt. Eric Eslary on Tuesday, May 5, 2015, died of cancer, Eslary's widow announced on Tuesday, March 13, 2018.

Blek, the retired Ligonier Township K-9 officer that survived a 2015 vehicle crash that claimed the life of its partner, Lt. Eric Eslary, has died after a battle with cancer, Eslary's widow, Mary Beth Eslary, announced Tuesday via social media.

Eslary posted on her Facebook account that Blek was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer in September that impeded the mobility of one of its rear legs.

“Blek was a true warrior, as he fought for six months only using three legs to navigate,” she wrote, adding that the German shepherd “has to be the toughest dog ever as we all ponder how he survived the vehicle accident.”

According to Eslary, only family members, close friends and fellow officers knew about Blek's medical condition.

Township police Chief Michael Matrunics said Blek died Tuesday after Eslary called with the news that the police dog “wasn't doing good.”

He said the department would consult with Eslary on how best to recognize Blek's death.

Eslary indicated she was “crushed” by Blek's death. “I may have been the last to kiss my husband, but Blek heard his voice last and heard Eric take his last breath,” she wrote. “Blek saved me, as I cried many tears on his coat.”

Lt. Eslary, 40, died May 5, 2015, in a head-on vehicle crash on Route 30 in Ligonier Township. Blek suffered a ruptured spleen and a ruptured disc in the collision and was retired from the police force the following August.

Clair Fink of Ligonier was sentenced to 12 to 30 years in prison for striking Eslary's police cruiser head-on as he drove the wrong way on Route 30 with a blood-alcohol level more the double the legal limit.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6622, jhimler@tribweb.com or via Twitter @jhimler_news.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me