STATEHOUSE (March 2, 2016) – The Indiana House today unanimously supported State Rep. Eric Koch’s (R-Bedford) resolution to name a mile of SR 37 near Mitchell in Lawrence County “The Trooper Robert Gillespie Memorial Mile.”
On June 8, 1962, Gillespie was killed in a traffic accident while rushing to a call for assistance near Mitchell. While traveling with his emergency lights on, Gillespie was forced to leave the road when a pickup truck slowed in front of him. Leaving the highway to avoid the truck, he swerved back on the highway to avoid another car in his path. A third car then struck his vehicle.
“I am pleased that we can appropriately memorialize Trooper Gillespie,” Koch said. “This recognition is well-deserved and long overdue.”
Gillespie, a graduate of Bedford High School, served in the U.S. Navy in Cuba from 1946-1949 and joined the Indiana State Police in 1950.
Throughout his 12 year career, Gillespie received several awards and accolades, including the Gold Star, the police’s highest honor. In 1959, after stopping a car in front of the Avoca post office, which had left a Bloomington service station without paying for gas, Gillespie ordered the suspect out of the car. The suspect opened the car door and fired a weapon striking Gillespie twice, once above his right knee and the other below his pelvic bone. Unable to stand, he returned fire from a sitting position as the suspect continued to shoot and quickly sped away from the scene. Gillespie crawled back to his patrol car and gave pursuit until the suspect abandoned his car and fled. The suspect and his wife were later captured.
Two of Gillespie’s sons, Dennis and Scott, were at the Statehouse to witness the passage of House Concurrent Resolution 58.
“It was a great honor and it was really touching to see the resolution go through,” Dennis Gillespie said. “Not just for my dad but for all the fallen officers in the state of Indiana, it recognizes the sacrifices that they’ve all made.”
“For Rep. Koch and Sen. Steele to support this and push this, it means the world to not just Dennis and I, but our entire family and our extended family and for our community.” Scott Gillespie said.
Rep. Koch (R-Bedford) represents all of Brown County, most of Lawrence County and parts of Monroe, Jackson and Johnson counties.