Incident DetailsCause of Death:
Trooper Richard Gaston was killed when his patrol car was struck from behind by a semitrailer while he was conducting a traffic stop westbound on the Indiana Toll Road at milepost 74 in South Bend.
He was sitting in the driver's seat and killed instantly while 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 his grandson inside.
The 50-year-old semitrailer driver was charged with 13 offenses, including 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.
He later pleaded guilty to six felony counts of operating while intoxicated causing death and serious bodily injury, sentenced to 14 years in prison and released in 2005.
Trooper Gaston, from Indianapolis, was assigned to the Toll Road district. He was survived by his wife, 10-month-old daughter and parents.
Trooper Gaston was the first of three troopers within 11 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.
United States Marine Corps
He served with distinction 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.''