Trooper Richard Terrell Gaston
Indiana State Police
End of Watch: Thursday, March 4, 1999
Tour of Duty: 2 months
Badge Number: 6679
Cause of Death: Vehicular assault
Date of Incident: Thursday, March 4, 1999
Weapon Used: Automobile; Commercial
Suspect Info: Released from prison
Trooper Richard Gaston was killed when his patrol car was struck from behind by a semi-tractor trailer while he was conducting a traffic stop on the Indiana Toll Road at mile post 77 in St. Joseph County, Indiana.
Trooper Gaston, sitting in the driver's seat, was killed instantly and his FTO was seriously injured in the accident. After the tractor trailer struck their patrol car it jack-knifed and struck the vehicle that had been stopped, killing a man and child inside.
The driver of the truck that struck the patrol car was charged with 13 offenses stemming from the accident. The offenses included possession of drug paraphernalia, driving after consumption of cocaine (within 72 hours) and a federal weapons charge for possession of a handgun within the cab. In a plea agreement, the driver pleaded guilty to three counts of driving under the influence of a controlled substance causing death. He served six and a half of his fourteen-year sentence and was released from prison in September 2005.
Trooper Gaston had served with the Indiana State Police for nearly three months, having recently graduated from the academy and was assigned to the Toll Road district. He also served with distinction in the US Marine Corps as a part of the elite 8th and I Company's Presidential support unit and in 1991, he was named his company's "Marine of the Year". Trooper Gaston was survived by his wife, 10-month-old daughter and parents.
Trooper Gaston was the third trooper in ten months to be killed in the line of duty from the 56th ISP Recruit Academy which graduated in December 1998 and was a roommate of Trooper Cory Elson who was killed in the line of duty on April 3, 1999
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