One of Scotland’s “best” police dog handlers is fighting for his life in intensive care after a horror collision on the region’s busiest road.
George Shearer was on-duty in a marked Police Scotland Peugeot van when it collided with a blue Vauxhall Astra at around 11.50pm on Tuesday.
The 46-year-old of Tarves was rushed to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (ARI) where he remained in a “critical” condition last night.
Mr Shearer, who is known as Dod to his friends and colleagues, is said to have suffered head injuries.
The condition of the 58-year-old man who was driving the Vauxhall Astra is described as “stable”.
The incident happened on the A90 Ellon to Peterhead road on the crest of a hill 600ft from the Auchiries crossroads near Hatton.
Officers closed a stretch of the busy commuter route for several hours while the vehicles were recovered from the verges either side of the carriageway.
Forensic crash scene investigators used portable lamps to light the scene as they worked through the night gathering evidence from amongst the scattered debris.
The two dogs Mr Shearer was travelling with were taken to a local vet for treatment although neither was seriously injured.
The officer is believed to have been responding to a work-related call at the time of the incident – though police would not give any details.
The force also declined to reveal the names or breeds of the dogs.
Last night a friend of Mr Shearer’s, who did not wish to be named, described him as an “excellent, very experienced” dog handler.
Mr Shearer is said to have joined the police’s dog unit in 2000 and to have been one year away from retiring from the force.
The friend added: “He is very well known and has been extremely successful. He is very highly regarded and just a laid back, great guy.
“As a police officer, he is one of the best.”
Road policing inspector Jon Barron said: “Our inquiries into the circumstances of this crash are obviously still at an early stage.
“I would be very keen to speak with anyone who may have seen either vehicle shortly beforehand, or anyone who witnessed the collision and who hasn’t yet been spoken to by police. Please contact us on 101.”
One local resident, who did not want to be named, said saw the emergency response from her window.
“I saw all the cars and recovery vehicles this morning at about 6am,” she said. “I just hope the folk are okay. The whole Auchiries straight is a bad bit of road.”
The dog lover added that it was “good news” the two animals were not seriously injured in the collision.
The A90 between Ellon and Peterhead remains a single carriageway route and despite an extensive local campaign there are no formal plans to upgrade the road. Transport Scotland figures show around 8,000 vehicles use the stretch of road where the collision happened every day.
Local councillor Gillian Owen, who spearheads the Why Stop At Ellon dualling campaign, said “urgent action” is needed.
“My thoughts are with the families at this difficult time,” she said. “Too many accidents occur on this section of the A90.
“Currently we do not know what happened and we should not speculate, but as I have said before this road is poor and urgent action is needed.”
North-east Conservative MSP Peter Chapman echoed Mrs Owen’s comments.
He said: “This is yet another terrible accident on one of the busiest roads in the north east and my heart goes out to the family and colleagues of those involved.”
In May 2015 a man was rushed to ARI after the 4×4 he was driving collided with an articulated lorry at the Auchiries crossroads. His injuries were not life-threatening but the carriageway was closed for several hours.
Similarly in September 2013 three people were seriously injured in a two-car smash just south of the junction.