Rep. Koch Media Advisory: Trooper Gillespie Memorial Mile to be dedicated

Posted by: Peter Hoffman  | Wednesday, April 20, 2016

STATEHOUSE (April 20, 2016) – State Rep. Eric Koch (R-Bedford) will host a ceremony on Tuesday to dedicate a portion of SR 37 near Mitchell, “The Trooper Robert Gillespie Memorial Mile.”

The dedication will be held at 4:30 p.m. on April 26 at the Lawrence County Courthouse and is open to the public. House Concurrent Resolution 58, authored by Koch, established the memorial mile and was passed unanimously by the House this session.

“By recognizing Trooper Gillespie, we are honoring the sacrifices police officers across Indiana make for our safety,” Koch said. “This memorial will serve as a reminder of his ultimate sacrifice.”

Those attending and speaking at the ceremony include:

  • Scott Gillespie, son of Trooper Robert Gillespie;
  • Douglas G. Carter, superintendent, Indiana State Police (ISP);
  • Jim Richardson, ISP officer who took Trooper Gillespie’s place in the ISP schedule;
  • Erin Raper, district volunteer chaplain, ISP; and
  • Jason Tiller, southwest communications director, Indiana Department of Transportation.

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.

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 was a model trooper, having received awards and accolades. Gillespie received the Gold Star, State Police’s highest honor, for his bravery during a 1959 traffic stop in Avoca. 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. 

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Rep. Koch (R-Bedford) represents all of Brown County, most of Lawrence County and parts of Monroe, Jackson and Johnson counties.