Although 12-year-old Taylor Winzenread
will never meet her father, Indiana State Trooper Andrew P. Winzenread
in person, she knows him through the love and support of fellow
troopers and the now permanent marker that names a portion of
I-74 after the slain officer memorializing his short life.
A dedication ceremony that produced tears and laughter was held
Friday, June 19 at the Decatur County Courthouse to honor the
life of the fallen officer who was loved by so many.
A resolution introduced by State Representative Cleo Duncan and
others, and adopted by the Indiana General Assembly, provides
for a portion of Interstate 74 to be named in honor of Winzenread
who gave his life in the line of duty April 25, 1997, while helping
a stranded motorist along that stretch of highway near the 144
mile marker. He was killed when a semi tractor-trailer hit him
and his cruiser, parked in the emergency lane of the interstate.
Only 26-years-old, Winzenread left behind a wife, Cynthia (Cindy),
and daughter Taylor, who was only a month old. The couple had
just recently moved to Osgood and was settling into the community.
At the ceremony on Friday, Cindy told The Versailles Republican,
My husband loved his job, he loved people, he was a great
guy. Daughter Taylor, now 12, resembles her father greatly
and was by her mothers side throughout the ceremony. When
presented a copy of the resolution, Cindy thanked State Representative
Cleo Duncan for her efforts in making the memorial tribute a reality.
She noted that after 12 years, people still surround her family
with their love and support. She then turned the tables on Rep.
Duncan and Sgt. Noel Houze Jr., who have worked together to bring
about the ceremony, and presented each of them with an engraved
clock as her thanks for their continued support.
The Move Over Slow Down law was enacted as a direct result of
Winzenreads death and is hoped to save the lives of other
men and women in law enforcement. Duncan worked tirelessly with
Sgt. Noel Houze Jr. to bring the situation to the front burner
of legislation where the proposal was made law. This measure says
if you see an officer or utility worker on the side of the road
on a four-lane highway, youre to move over to the farthest
lane or at the least slow down. The whole message is to
take the extra precaution to protect the lives of the men and
women who put their lives on the line every day, Duncan
said about Indianas Move Over law.
Indiana was the leader with the law with Duncan stating that now
nearly every state has adopted it. At this announcement there
was a loud round of applause from the large crowd that gathered
at the courthouse.
According to Sgt. Noel Houze Jr. July 1 marks the 10th anniversary
of the law that was signed by Governor Frank OBannon on
April 19, 1999, just two years after the death of Trooper Winzenread.
This law was the first of its kind in the United States. Saying
the tragic death of fellow officer Winzenread changed the lives
of fellow troopers forever, Houze stated that his sacrifice
wasnt in vain, due to the law now in place to protect
thousands. That was his goal when he approached Duncan more than
ten years ago to get something done to try to prevent such tragedies.
Officers who recalled the tragic day remember Taylor as a baby
in her mothers arms. The reality of their jobs came
close to Sgt. Noel Houze Jr. that day as he had been riding with
Winzenread just moments before the accident occurred. I
had been riding with him and he had just taken me back to the
Batesville Police Department to pick up my car, he told
those gathered for the ceremony.
Described as a shining example of all the good qualities
exhibited by Indiana State Troopers, the resolution further
stated, he (Winzenread) truly lived by the guiding values
of the Indiana State Police - integrity, service, and professionalism.
He truly had a servants heart, retired ISP Detective
Phil Mohr told The Versailles Republican following the ceremony.
He remembered the young trooper as a wonderful asset to the Versailles
team, someone who was so proud to be a state trooper.
Mohr wasnt surprised at all that Winzenread had stopped
to help the stranded motorist. It was what he enjoyed doing
most (helping people), he noted.
Winzenreads mother, Sharon, attended the ceremony where
she, along with his widow was presented copies of the resolution
and replicas of the signage that will dot the landscape on I-74.
Our family has been overwhelmed by the kindness, goodness
and care we have received, she told those gathered, breaking
down in tears.
Duncan, a true friend of law enforcement, hugged Winzenreads
mother. She told The Versailles Republican she was honored and
humbled to be part of something that honors someone like Winzenread
who loved to help others so much.
Widow of fallen ISP Trooper Jason Beal (Shelby County), Emily
Beal-Nelis spoke at the ceremony thanking Duncan for her dedication
to help protect law enforcement. She said her work touches
all the survivors. She told The Versailles Republican that
her husband went to school with Cindy Winzenread, who was originally
from Shelby County. Trooper Beal was killed in the line of duty
Rheadawn Rayner Metz, widow of William R. Rayner, the first officer
from the Versailles Post to be killed in the line of duty, was
also at the ceremony to show her support. A ceremony honoring
her late husband was held two weeks ago and now a portion of I-74
is also named after Trooper Rayner, who was shot to death after
making a routine traffic stop in Decatur County. Winzenread is
the second officer to be killed from the Versailles Post, but
the 36th ISP employee statewide to die in the line of duty.
Resolution No. 12 states, Trooper Winzenreads actions
displayed his willingness to go the extra mile and to help people
whenever he had the opportunity. That statement sums up
the short life of the fallen officer who will live forever in
the hearts and lives of others who will now have a measure of
protection through the Move Over Slow Down law.
WANDA ENGLISH BURNETT PHOTO
The mood was somber as Sgt. Noel Houze
Jr., left, read Resolution 12 naming a section of Interstate
74 in honor of Indiana State Trooper Andrew P. Winzenread,
who was killed in the line of duty April 25, 1997. A portion
of I-74 was named in his honor after State Representative
Cleo Duncan, right, worked on the resolution. Looking on
from left are Winzenread's daughter, Taylor, widow, Cindy,
and mother, Sharon.
WANDA ENGLISH BURNETT PHOTO
Slain officer Andrew Winzenread's widow,
Cindy, shares a moment with ISP Det. Mike Black just before
the ceremony honoring her husband. Det. Black and wife,
Karen, had the hardest job in his career the day they had
to tell the young woman her husband had been killed.