BALDWIN – A Buxton man is facing multiple charges after police say he lost control of his speeding vehicle then fled the scene before assaulting a police dog.

According to the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, Howard Liberty Jr., 45, was driving a 2003 Chevy pickup at a high rate of speed on Graffam Road in Baldwin when he lost control of the vehicle, causing it to roll over. Liberty fled the scene, police say, leaving two passengers injured in the vehicle.

Two emergency responders followed the driver through the woods. They were then joined by a police dog named Paco, who confronted the 6-foot, 300-pound Liberty in a heavily wooded area. Police say Liberty refused to stop, and began punching Paco. The dog eventually bit Liberty in the upper thigh.

The dog suffered no serious injuries, police said.

Liberty is charged with leaving the scene of a personal injury crash, reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon (vehicle), assault on a law enforcement K-9, and refusing to submit to arrest or detention.

Speed and alcohol were factors in the crash, police say.

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