Indiana state trooper dies after being struck during police vehicle chase
PLAINFIELD, Ind. (WISH) — An Indiana State Police trooper has died after being struck by a vehicle fleeing from police Wednesday night.
The leader of the state police made the announcement during an emotional press conference outside of Eskenazi Hospital.
“He was one of those guys that stood out,” Superintendent Doug Carter said. “We all know who those people are. That’s what I’ll always remember about him. Not to be cliché, but he was a shining star for the state police.”
Police had located a stolen vehicle and attempted to stop the driver, which led to a vehicle pursuit. The pursuit went onto I-70 and Ameriplex Parkway near the Indianapolis International Airport.
Around 8:45 p.m., Trooper Aaron Smith was attempting to put down tire-deflating devices on Ronald Reagan Parkway to stop the suspect vehicle before the vehicle struck him at the I-70 interchange.
The vehicle crashed after hitting Smith. All occupants of the vehicle were taken to local hospitals. The condition of the suspects wasn’t available immediately.
Smith was taken to Eskenazi Hospital, where he later died.
Ronald Reagan Parkway and Ameriplex Parkway remained closed at 11:30 p.m. The entrance ramp onto I-70 eastbound was also closed.
Aaron Smith was a native of Whiteland and a 2008 graduate of Whiteland High school. Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in aviation/airway management with a minor in unmanned aerial systems from Indiana State University in 2014. He joined the Army National Guard in 2011 and previously worked in construction and insurance. Smith was married and lived in Franklin.
Smith received two life-saving awards from the Indiana State Police for two separate incidents.
On Oct. 22, Smith and Trooper Hunter McCord responded to a call of a person shot and found a female bleeding in a car. The troopers pulled the female from the vehicle, and Smith packed her leg wound with gauze, which stopped the bleeding.
On Nov. 16, Smith was while patrolling around West and Washington streets in Indianapolis when he encountered a driver who had been shot. Smith retrieved a tourniquet from his vehicle and compressed the driver’s wound, stopping the bleeding before medical services arrived.
Wednesday’s death is the second instance this year of an Indiana state trooper being killed during a vehicle pursuit. In March, Senior Trooper James R. Bailey was struck and killed by a fleeing suspect vehicle while deploying tire-deflating devices on I-69.