Trooper's death has neighbors questioning Old SR 25's safety

The safety of Old SR 25 is in question now more than ever after the death of an Indiana State Police Trooper.

Posted: Oct 14, 2019 11:51 PM
Updated: Oct 14, 2019 11:58 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) -- The safety of Old SR 25 is in question now more than ever after the death of an Indiana State Police Trooper.

Trooper Peter Stephan was using the curvy, downhill road responding to a call just north in Americus.

As neighbors tell News 18 the sad truth, near Old SR 25 and Stair Road, is called "dead man's curve" for a reason.

"They're all going too fast," said Chad Brooks, "There is no slow down sign here. I mean everybody speeds up because it is a hill."

Brooks lives up above the hill right where the curve starts.

"People don't understand the way it's banked in there," said Patrick Hughes. "They come in too fast but when they realize it, it is too late."

Hughes also lives near the curve, but has for more than 20 years.

Neighbors said it's been too late for many people driving up or down the hill especially near Stair Road.

"You hear them so often," said Hughes.

"They call it dead man's curve," said Brooks. "There's just so many accidents."

"Each time there was an accident I'd go down the hill and make sure they were okay," said Hughes.

Hughes has seen minor accidents and fatal accidents.

He heard Indiana State Police Trooper Peter Stephan's car wreck.

"We heard the trees being struck and also a big crash," said Hughes. "Something solid hit."

Old SR 25 was the main pipeline between Delphi and Lafayette until 2012 when the Hoosier Heartland was built, but it still doesn't fix the problem on Old SR 25.

"It'll stay the same," said Hughes. "Everyone has complained about this road for many many years."

"Maybe a guardrail," said Brooks. "Something as simple as that may help save someone's life."

Before you get to the curve there is a sign cautioning drivers to slow to 45 miles per hour, but as News 18 Monday saw drivers ignored that.

Brooks said he's seen his fair share of accidents.

"There's nothing to protect from those telephone poles there," said Brooks. "So even when they speed down this hill they go straight up and hit those telephone poles."

Indiana State Police said Stephan hit one of the poles in his accident.

Hughes, a former Lafayette cop, said the police force all around the country is a brotherhood.

"It's very close," said Hughes. "You couldn't ask for anything closer than that. We're always behind on another and we always feel that hurt. Even though I am retired I always feel that hurt."

That curve of road on Old SR 25 is also known as "three lane hill."

Now it's down to two lanes, but even neighbors said that had minimal affect on accidents.

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