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Trooper Richard Terrell Gaston | Indiana State Police, Indiana Indiana State Police, Indiana

Trooper

Richard Terrell Gaston

Indiana State Police, Indiana

End of Watch: Thursday, March 4, 1999

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 29

Tour: 2 months

Badge # Not available

Military veteran

Cause: Vehicular assault

Weapon: Automobile; Commercial

Offender: Released from prison

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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.

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Gaston- not a year goes by that I don't tell the story of how you and I first met:

You and Fighting First had been to deployed out to Dessert Shield and were gone during my time in CDS and for a few months I was with Suicide Second. If my memory is correct, all of you came back the week of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving weekend came and everyone was on a 72 hour weekend liberty. I, however, decided to stay back and save some money and go home for Christmas. You stayed back for reasons unknown to be at the time. Lights out.

Sometime during Friday night into Saturday morning, my bunk jumped. At first, I thought I was dreaming and then it happened again with you saying "get up." I guess my snoring kept you up and you couldn't sleep. Then you asked "how fast can you run 3 miles?" I answered "sub 19 Lance Corporal." Then you said "get dressed for P.T" I did and you then asked me " Do you know where the Capitol Building is?" I responded with with "No, Lance Corporal." You said "find it!"

Down the stairs I went and the running started. I had some general idea where the building was and ran in that direction. I found it. Touched the step and started back and passed you asI was running back to the barracks. I would say you you had given me a pretty good lead and it was then I realized I didn't recognize anything on the street I was running. These are all houses? The street I just came in on had businesses and banks and gas stations. Me not knowing D.C. like I do now, instead of just making and right and getting on the correct street, ran all the way back to the Pennsylvania split and then corrected myself and started off towards the barracks at this time. I could see you two or three blocks ahead and just kept running to catch you and then pass you.

I did make it back to the barracks before you and was waiting at the guard station in front of Bravo Company. You told me "get upstairs and stand at the position of attention." I did and you came into the room and dived into your bunk. I think you passed out and forgot about me because at some point you woke up and asked "what are you doing?" (maybe in a not so nice of way) I answered "you told me to come upstairs and stand at position of attention until you told me otherwise Lance Corporal." You then said "hit the rack."

At this point, I don't think I fell back asleep or even breathed for fear of upsetting you anymore then you were. The sun rose and the first thing I did was buy a one way ticket to California. If the ticket was $300, I had $299 and i wasn't coming back. I was scared of what this Marine was going to do to me down the road. I didn't tell you I was leaving nor did I tell our squad leader Rabjohn either. I was out. Being on that plan, flying on a holiday was one of the most peaceful times in my life. There was a certain awwww that came with taking off.

Now back at the barracks, I would later learn this, through what would be a great friendship, from you that you were freaking out yourself not knowing if I was coming back or what had happened to me.

Monday morning came and I was there for morning formation. Now, I was still a boot, in your eyes, but as time passed we were good to go. I remember one night you had duty and I was heading out to the Underground and you said if I saw Amy that I need to buy her a drink and to make sure if was from you. I did. It was beginning of your relationship that would lead to marriage and starting family.

We kept in touch and one of the last times we talked you were still working at the museum, but had been accepted to the trooper academy. You had sent me a picture of Jean, if my memory is correct with her name. I still have the picture. I think that may have been one of the last times hearing your voice.

I remember getting that phone call. It still mind numbing thinking about it. It still brings emotions on after all these years.

I called Jesser and he met me there for the funeral. I saw Amy at the funeral and resting sight, but thought it would be best to let her be at this time. I do regret that now.

Just know you made an impression on a farmer boy from California and it's one that hasn't been forgotten nor will it ever. I know how much you loved Amy and your daughter and that pains me to no end, that you were taken so soon from them and from all your family and friends. You were a great guy! Until we see each other again Semper Fi Marine!

Cpl Rob Alanis
United States Marine 8th and I
August 23, 2017

 

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