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State police: Trooper killed was ‘one of the best’

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indiana State Police trooper Aaron Smith, who died Wednesday night after being hit by a vehicle during a chase, was “one of the best,” according to Superintendent Doug Carter.

“He was one of those guys that stood out,” 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.”

Smith, 33, was struck at around 8:40 p.m. Wednesday while trying to set out stop sticks on Ronald Reagan Parkway near the I-70 interchange in Hendricks County. He was taken to Eskenazi Hospital, where he died.

The motorcade carrying Smith’s body left Eskenazi Hospital just before 1:30 a.m. Thursday and arrived at the Marion County Coroner’s Office a short time later.

“Ever since I’ve been superintendent, I’ve promised family members that I’d do everything I could do to take care of them. But I couldn’t take care of him tonight. I just couldn’t,” Carter said.

Carter says he wants the community to know that these types of accidents happen, but it’s important for law enforcement officers to continue their mission.

“These kinds of things happen, and it’s really prevalent, it seems,” Carter said. “We’ve gotta keep doing what we do. We’ve gotta believe that the vast majority of people are good people and honorable people.”

On Thursday, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb released a statement on Smith’s death:

“Janet and I offer our deepest condolences to the wife, family and close friends of Trooper Aaron Smith.

Trooper Smith lived and died a hero. His everlasting inspiration is a painful reminder of what the best among us sacrifice everyday when they leave the house. I encourage every Hoosier so inclined to right now stop and shower Trooper Smith’s bride with prayer and be there for his fellow law enforcement members so shaken by this heartbreaking loss.” 

Smith is the second state trooper killed trying to stop a vehicle in a chase this year. Trooper James Bailey died in March after being struck on I-69 in DeKalb County. The driver, Terry Sands II, is charged with murder and resisting law enforcement.

State police identify driver, passengers

The driver of the stolen vehicle was identified Thursday as 18-year-old Eddie Jones Jr. of Sikeston, Missouri. He was arrested on a preliminary charge of murder, state police say.

The adult passenger, 19-year-old DeMareon Curry, of Sikeston, Missouri, was arrested for auto theft.

A 15-year-old girl who was listed as a missing person from Missouri was also in the stolen vehicle, according to state police. She will be turned over to Missouri police on Thursday and will not face criminal charges.

Jones and Curry were being held Thursday in the Hendricks County Jail. Booking photos were not immediately available.

The Hendricks County Prosecutor’s Office will review the case and make a final charging decision.

(L) Eddie Jones Jr., 18, faces a preliminary charge of felony murder. DeMareon Curry, 19, faces a preliminary charge of felony auto theft. (Provided Photos/Hendricks Co. Jail)