Rep. Smaltz proposes renaming stretch of I-69 in honor of fallen ISP Master Trooper James Bailey

Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 4:09 PM EDT
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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WPTA) - State Rep. Ben Smaltz (R-Auburn) has submitted a proposal to rename a portion of I-69 where an Indiana State Police Master Trooper was killed in the line of duty in March.

ALL PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Remembering Master Trooper Bailey

ISP Master Trooper James Bailey, according to police, came in to work on his day off on March 3 to aid with crashes on I-69 near Auburn when he was struck by Terry DeWaine Sands II during a police pursuit.

During the Interim Study Committee on Roads and Transportation meeting Tuesday, Rep. Smaltz presented a proposal to rename the portion of I-69 where the crash happened in honor of Bailey, between the County Road 11A Exit and State Road 8.

According to a press release, the committee is currently reviewing the proposal.

ISP Trooper Matthew Lazoff, a friend of Bailey and his family, testified in support of the renaming during the Tuesday meeting. He said even after Bailey’s long battle with cancer, he enrolled in the ISP Academy and served the department for 15 years.

Following the committee’s approval, Smaltz says he will file a formal resolution for consideration and adoption by the House and Senate during the 2024 legislative session. If it passes, he says the Indiana Department of Transportation can move forward with the renaming.

Court documents

Probable cause documents released in the case show the suspect, 42-year-old Terry DeWaine Sands II of Marion, intentionally struck Master Trooper Bailey during a police chase on March 3.

Police say Bailey came in to work on his day off to aid with crashes on I-69 amid wintry weather when he heard about a police pursuit with Sands. Records say a Fort Wayne Police Department officer saw Sands driving erratically and attempted to stop him when he sped off.

Master Trooper Bailey then tried to lay out stop sticks to stop Sands, who was driving around 90 mph. That is when documents say Sands drove into the median and directly into Bailey’s path, striking him with his vehicle.

When police spoke with Sands, he said he intended to hit Bailey’s vehicle, claiming he swerved to miss Bailey and falsely stated that Bailey “jumped in front of him”.

Police say they reviewed several video accounts of the crash, finding no evidence that Sands attempted to swerve out of the way to miss Bailey. They also say Bailey did not jump in front of Sands’ vehicle.

On Thursday, Sands made his first court appearance at a DeKalb County courtroom that was packed full of State Police Troopers. He was formally charged with murder, resisting law enforcement - use of motor vehicle causing death, causing death when operating a motor vehicle with a controlled substance, and knowingly/forcibly resisting law enforcement.

Police say Terry Dewaine Sands II hit and killed an Indiana State Trooper on March 3.
Police say Terry Dewaine Sands II hit and killed an Indiana State Trooper on March 3.(wpta)

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