Bio & Incident Details
Tour: 2 months
Badge # Not available
Cause: Vehicular assault
Weapon: Automobile; Commercial
Offender: Released from prison
Trooper Richard Gaston was killed when his patrol car was struck from behind by a semitrailer while he was conducting a traffic stop on the Indiana Toll Road at milepost 77 in St. Joseph County.
Trooper Gaston, sitting in the driver's seat, was killed instantly and his field training officer was seriously injured in the accident. After the semitrailer 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 within 72 hours after consumption of cocaine 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 6½ years of a 14-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 is survived by his wife, 10-month-old daughter, and parents.
Trooper Gaston was the first of three troopers in 10 months to be killed in the line of duty from the 56th ISP Recruit Academy which graduated in December 1998. He was a roommate of Trooper Cory Elson who was killed in the line of duty on April 3, 1999.