I’ve included the response from Indiana State Police to my request for comment at the bottom of this article.
A lot of listeners have been asking me about this story. Many remember my coverage of the Officer Manor tragedy in Las Vegas when I was there, and Michiana listeners have heard me mention the story several times.
- Why did the trooper, Jathan Rose, make a u-turn on the toll road?
- Why did the motorcyclist, Michael M. Damore, 28, impact the passenger side of the patrol car?
- What reason would the trooper have for making a right-handed u-turn? (A listener pointed out that if the trooper was heading eastbound and made a U-turn to go back west he would leave the passenger side of his vehicle exposed. I was thinking there was a concrete barrier there.)
- How fast was the motorcyclist going?
- Was the trooper running code (lights and/or siren)?
- Who was at fault?
So far, all the State Police and the media has put out is that the motorcyclist was riding on a suspended license, and the motorcycle was not registered.
Many, including myself, found that to be an interesting, if not suspicious, release of information. Why? Because it doesn’t point to actual cause/fault for the accident. It seems like an attempt to paint the motorcyclist as irresponsible. That may be true, but it doesn’t answer the question of who is at fault. I’ve also seen it before … in the Officer Manor case. In that case, an innocent man was demonized and blamed for a fatal accident in which a police officer died. I was the first member of the media to discover that the accident was actually caused by Officer Manor, and the police attempted to frame an innocent man in his death to cover it up. I hope that isn’t happening here too.
Here’s what I found …
We witnessed this accident and my husband was the first medical person on the scene. This article is completely biased and wrong!
They make it sound like the biker was at fault and even somehow criminal. It was an accident, not on purpose, but it was 100% the officers fault. He did an illegal Uturn between construction cones, at night, without lights or a siren. The biker was driving in his own lane and couldn’t avoid the cop car in time. In fact, there were witnesses on the scene who swore that the cop hit the biker!
After my husband ran over and checked the bikers pulse, he instructed a military person who had also stopped to help to keep the biker awake. He ran to the cop car to check on the officer. The officer was still in the driver seat staring straight ahead, probably in shock. When my husband asked if he was ok he responded,”yes”. When we asked if he had called it in he responded, “no. Is the guy ok?” My husband responded, ” no, he is definitely not ok, you need to call this in right now!”
The officer NEVER did chest compressions. The officer DID NOT help with the injured man at all or offer any medical aid kit. At least five other cop cars and the ambulance arrived fairly quickly, however, they did not acquire witness statements or contact information from either my husband or the military personnel. They simply said, “we got it, you can go”, when asked if they wanted statements the officers repeated, ” no, we got it, you can go”.
There were witnesses on the scene who were telling the newly arrived officers to arrest the offending officer because it was a purposeful act. The officers said no, no, and got in their face (which we did not hear) and shut them up. NO witness statements were taken although there were several eye witnesses who stayed to give statements.
Some are also claiming that Michael M. Damore’s license was suspended, but his bike was registered.
If this is true, and I stress ‘if’ since we do not yet know, this is going to be a very big story.
Naturally, there are going to be two trains of thought here. One will blame the rider because he should not have been on road to begin with, and the other will blame the officer if their actions directly led to the accident.
I’ve reached out to the witness about an interview on my show. Stay tuned.
I’ve made a formal request for comment from Indiana State Police regarding the allegations of the alleged witness. A copy of my email to ISP is below:
To whom it may concern:
My name is Casey Hendrickson from 95.3 MNC in South Bend, IN. I’m formally requesting comment regarding the tragic accident involving Trooper Jathan Rose and motorcyclist Michael M. Damore at 9:30 p.m. on July 1.
An alleged witness has come forward on social media to challenge the official story being covered in the media. This alleged witness claims that Trooper Jathan Rose is at fault in the accident.
Below are some of the claims of the alleged witness:
Trooper Jathan Rose did not lend medical aid as reported.
Trooper Jathan Rose made an illegal u-turn, and did not have his lights or siren on when doing so.
Other first responders who arrived at the scene did not take witness statements.
Witnesses on scene alleged the trooper was at fault for the accident.
Some witnesses on scene demanded Trooper Jathan Rose be arrested for causing the accident.
Michael Damore’s license was suspended, but his motorcycle was registered at the time of the accident.
I’m attempting to get to the truth, and discredit and falsehoods regarding this story. I understand the investigation is still ongoing, but comment from the Indiana State Police on these matters would go a long way in preventing widespread speculation.
Some questions I have:
Why did the trooper, Jathan Rose, make a u-turn on the toll road?
Why did the motorcyclist, Michael M. Damore, 28, impact the passenger side of the patrol car?
What reason would the trooper have for making a right-handed u-turn?
How fast was the motorcyclist going?
Was the trooper running code (lights and/or siren on)?
Who was at fault?
Were witness statements taken at the scene of the accident?
Thank you in advance for your time, and assistance in this matter.
You are also free to call or text me anytime at (702) 217-6390.
All the best,
Radio Talk Show Host – 95.3 MNC
The following is the response I received from Indiana State Police on July 6, 2016
Your inquiry to the Indiana State Police generic email address was directed to my attention.
While I am not able to reply to your specific questions I can tell you that anytime there is a death of a citizen, be it the result of a police action shooting, traffic crash or other circumstance that also involved a police officer, there is a very detailed and comprehensive investigation. I can also share with you that death investigations can take several weeks or longer to complete as autopsy reports and toxicology results have to be processed for the deceased as well as for our involved trooper.
Once the investigation is completed, it will be submitted to the Porter County Prosecutor’s Office for review and action as deemed appropriate by that office. In the meantime, the involved trooper, as a matter of practice has been placed on administrative duties, which is commonly referred to by the public as desk duty, and will remain in that status until final action related to this investigation has been determined by the Porter County Prosecutor.
The investigation is still very active, and many of the questions you asked in your email are the same points our investigation will be seeking to answer. As for anyone that witnessed the crash and did not have the opportunity to speak with an officer at the scene I can also share with you that the state police detective investigating this case is Det. Mike Robinson. He may be contacted on his department cell phone *REDACTED BY ME* and he looks forward to speaking to any witnesses. You are welcome to share Det. Robinson’s name and cell number with any persons you’ve spoken with that were a witness to the crash.
Any loss of life is tragic and we will work diligently to determine all the facts associated with this fatal crash. Regardless of fault for the crash, our investigation will be complete, thorough and unbiased.
Once the crash report has been finalized, it will become a public record and will be available for a nominal charge at this website.
While we have nothing to hide as an agency, we have a long standing policy of not speaking to ongoing investigations, outside of the initial information, which is provided in the public news release and has been attached with this email.
Thank you for your time reading this reply. Feel free to email or call me as listed in my signature line.
David R. Bursten, Captain
Chief Public Information Officer
Indiana State Police