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Officer hospitalized after stepping on yellow jacket nest during pursuit

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Posted at 11:44 AM, Sep 28, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-28 23:33:38-04

BROOKHAVEN, Ga. — A Georgia police officer is back at home after he was stung by more than 50 yellow jackets during a pursuit.

WGCL reports officer John Ritch, Officer Russell Chatham and Officer Ritch’s K-9, Grizz, were all stung when police said Brian Gutierrez led them into the woods during a foot pursuit.

It happened in DeKalb County, where officers tried to pull Gutierrez over on a burglary charge.

One of the officers stepped on a hive of yellow jackets. The other officer and the K-9 were stung, but are expected to make a full recovery.

“That would usually be life-threatening,” said Dr. Thomas Upshaw with Piedmont Hospital.

The doctor said it would be unlikely a person with no allergies to bees or yellow jackets would survive the stings, but Ritch has an extreme allergy to yellow jackets.

Doctor Upshaw said anyone with allergies to bees or yellow jackets should always carry a kit with needed medicines.