Monday, October 20, 2008

IN Deputy Killed While Assisting Tow Truck Operator

Sadly, Deputy Sara Jones of Monroe County, Ind. died this weekend while directing traffic at an accident scene where a tow truck operator was recovering a vehicle. Indiana does have a 'Move Over' law in place. Our condolences to her family and acquaintances.
Here's the WTHR news story:

Bloomington - A Monroe County deputy died Sunday afternoon after she was struck by a vehicle while on duty Friday night.

Deputy Sara Jones, who had joined the sheriff's department earlier in the year, was pronounced dead at 12:15 Sunday afternoon.

Shortly after 10:30 pm Friday, Deputy Jones was directing traffic at the scene of an accident on SR 45 just west of Bloomington when she was struck by a Jeep driven by 16-year-old Bree Myers of Bloomington.

Deputy Jones had been assisting a local wrecker service pull a vehicle from a ravine on the north side of the road. While Deputy Jones was directing traffic, Myers' Jeep struck Jones with the left front of her vehicle.

"I mean, I have never seen anything like that," wrecker driver Mike Sims said. "I was pulling the truck up out of the ditch and I heard the sound of glass breaking. When I turned to look, I seen the officer being struck by the vehicle."

Sims said there was plenty of warning for drivers to slow down at the scene of the first accident.

"[I] had my lights on, sheriff's car was behind me and had its lights on and she was carrying a flashlight," he said.

Police say Myers was driving 45 miles an hour when she struck Jones - five miles an hour below the posted speed limit.

"Well, you get a lot of gawkers when you are working and accidents," Sims said. "It could be she wasn't paying attention to the road and was looking to see what was going on and didn't see her."

Monroe County Sheriff James Kennedy said the accident is far too common.

"Accident scenes are extremely dangerous," he said. "We have lost more police officers in the last few years from traffic accidents and being out on the highway than any other single cause."

The impact from the Jeep knocked the deputy's badge off her shirt. She suffered multiple injuries from the crash and was transported by ambulance to Bloomington Hospital. Jones was air-lifted to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis in critical condition Saturday night.

Myers was transported to Bloomington Hospital but was not injured. State Road 45 was shut down until Indiana State Police investigators could re-construct the crash scene.

Arrangements for Deputy Jones are pending, according to Sheriff Kennedy. Black flags were placed on sheriff's cars in the county and flags were lowered to half staff Sunday afternoon in memory of the fallen deputy.

Marty Decker, the vice president of F.O.P. #88 in Monroe County, issued a reminder to residents that they are not at this time collecting for any kind of fund for Deputy Jones.

"If or when we would do so, we will most certainly not do such a solicitation by phone," Decker said in a statement e-mailed to Eyewitness News.

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