2 Ind. officers killed during charity bike ride

Officer Down: Gary Martin - [Merrillville, Indiana]


Biographical Info

Age: 63

Additional Info: Former Chief Gary Martin had taught criminal justice for almost 30 years and was a 25-year veteran of the Gary Police Department. He is survived by his wife and two children.

Incident Details

Cause of Death: Martin was killed in an automobile collision while participating in a charity bike ride.

Date of Incident: August 22, 2006


2 Ind. officers killed during charity bike ride

The Assoicated Press

COVINGTON, Ind.- During the dozen years that he worked at the state police training academy, Lt. Gary Dudley came to know several officers who later died in the line of duty.

Gary Martin, meanwhile, spent more than two decades as a police officer on the often-dangerous streets of Gary, rising through the ranks to become assistant chief before a stint as the second-ranking officer in the Lake County Sheriff's Department.

Both were avid bicyclists and were on a ride circling the state to raise money for a group that provides support for the families of fallen officers when on Tuesday a chain-reaction crash killed them and injured another rider.

The group of 10 current and retired officers and another man were pedaling south on Indiana 63 in a rural area about 50 miles north of Terre Haute when a support van marked with a banner that read "Caution Cyclists Ahead" spun into the group after being hit from behind by a box truck, police said.

The highway's southbound lanes were closed for several hours Tuesday. Debris and a crumbled red bicycle were in the road, along with water bottles, a helmet, shoes and other bikes.

Dudley, who became commander of the police academy last year, was among the organizers of the 13-day, 1,100-mile ride to benefit the Indiana Concerns of Police Survivors, said state police 1st Sgt. Dave Bursten, a close friend of Dudley.

Bursten said he and Dudley had recently taken the daughter of Trooper Richard Gaston, who was struck and killed by a semitrailer on the Indiana Toll Road in 1999, to the circus.

"Anything he could do to help, he would do," Bursten said. "He's been in there for the long haul."

Martin, who retired from the Lake County police in April, also taught criminal justice at Indiana University Northwest for nearly 30 years and had seen his son, Greg, follow him into law enforcement, as he is now a pilot for the Gary Police Department. Besides cycling, his colleagues said he had run in several marathons.

"Gary was a mentor to everyone in law enforcement and our entire community," Lake County Sheriff Roy Dominguez said. "He will be greatly missed by the thousands of students, police officers and others who simply called him friend."

The injured cyclist, retired Indianapolis police Officer Spencer Moore, was airlifted to an Illinois hospital and was listed in fair condition several hours after the crash.

The drivers of the box truck, Gary Adams of Owensboro, Ky., and the support van, Rocky Bumpas of Mooresville, were treated and released at a nearby hospital.

State police Sgt. Joe Watts said it could take several weeks for investigators to complete their review of the crash and submit a report to the Vermillion County prosecutor's office for a decision on whether any charges would be filed.

The ride began Aug. 16 and was to end Aug. 28 in Indianapolis at Crown Hill Cemetery's Heroes of Public Safety section.

The ride was called off for today, and it was uncertain whether it would resume as state police Sgt. Brian Olehy said the bicyclists left for their homes after a debriefing Tuesday night at a Terre Haute hotel.

The Indiana Troopers Association had hosted the riders during part of their trip last week.

"They were all very upbeat when they were here Friday night," said Karen Shelton, the group's director of operations. "They do this on their own time, which I think is admirable."

The cyclists planned to ride 102 miles Tuesday and had gone about halfway when they stopped for lunch. They were a couple of miles back into the ride when the crash happened, said Watts, who knew some of the cyclists, which included a man who lost a grandfather in the line of duty.

Those participating included officers from state police, Lake County sheriff, Merrillville, Bloomington, Fishers and Indianapolis police departments.

The riders were in South Bend on Saturday, making a stop at the South Bend Police Department.

Participating in the ride was Mark Fedder of the Mishawaka Police Department, but he was not with the group at the time of the accident, according to a family member contacted Tuesday.

Fedder, who assists with police grief counseling, was in town to attend funeral services of Mishawaka division chief Jerry Schroder, who died Thursday.

Associated PressCopyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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