Wednesday, February 05, 2014

21 years ago today

Indiana State Trooper Mike Greene was patrolling I-65 between Lebanon and Indianapolis on the afternoon of Feb. 5, 1993, when he noticed two men – Tommy Lee McElroy, 35, and Norman Timberlake, 45 – standing by a car just off the southbound lanes of the interstate. McElroy was urinating on the ground. Greene stopped to investigate and, after checking with his dispatcher, discovered one of the men was wanted. As the trooper approached them again, Timberlake drew a pistol and fired, hitting Greene in the chest.
After they fled, a passing motorist used Greene's patrol car radio to call for help. The following story appeared in The Indianapolis News the day after the shooting.

The Indianapolis News

I watched Indiana State Police trooper Michael E. Greene die Friday.
He lay there on the cold asphalt berm of I-65 in front of his patrol car as his friend, Boone County Sheriff Ern Hudson, pumped his chest  and a group of paramedics worked over him, laboring feverishly to restart his heart.
They tried the defibrillator to no avail, and Hudson – sweating and working in his shirtsleeves in the unseasonably warm afternoon air – knelt again at Mike's left side and continued his CPR.
Boone County Detective Stan Large, his face a grim mask, walked past me and said, “He's dead.”
Minutes earlier, I was sitting in Hudson's office at the Boone County Jail. We were talking about prisoner visitation policies at the new facility when Chief Deputy Dennis Brannon broke in to say there was a report of a police officer shot along I-65 south of Lebanon.
“You want to ride with us?” Hudson asked, heading for the door.
“Sure,” I replied.
Hurtling down the fast lane of I-65, we passed other traffic like a greeneblur.
Just south of the access ramp to eastbound I-465, we saw the flash of police brake lights as the stream of speeding patrol cars overtook traffic backed up from the place where Greene lay on the ground.
As we ran toward the knot of paramedics kneeling in front of the white state police car, someone shouted to Hudson, “It's Mike Greene.”
“I noticed right away,” Hudson said later, “that his skin was dark blue. When you've been in this business as long as I have, you can tell when they're not going to make it. I had a sense that it would be a miracle if we could save him.”
Peering over the shoulder of a paramedic, I could see the bullet wound in Mike's upper chest. It wasn't bleeding.
Hours later, Hudson was still choked with emotion as he remembered working over Greene.
“When I was a young trooper, I remember how Mike was a kid and he always wanted to be a state trooper. I did his background check when he joined the department. His dad, Tommy Greene, was the county Democratic chairman, and he was proud as a peacock when that boy got on the state police.”
As Hudson worked with the paramedics over Mike Greene, he said later, “I was saying a lot of prayers. I was just trying to do something to breathe some more life into him. I wasn't doing anything special. I was just trying to help the medics. I was just trying to take my turn with everybody else.
“You're holding onto the guy. Your skin is on his skin, and you're hoping and praying you can get him going.”
Someone announced the Life Line Helicopter was on its way and I looked up to see Boone County Prosecutor Rebecca McClure approaching, her jaw set with anger and determination.
“Let me at 'em,” she said, referring to the two suspects who were the objects of a massive police search in Marion County.
“I hate to be the one to tell you this, Becky,” I said, “but we're not in Boone County here.”
McClure swore. “I didn't realize I'd crossed the line,” she said.
Paramedics continued to pump Greene's chest as they wheeled his gurney to the helicopter and he was flown to Methodist Hospital where he was officially pronounced dead a short time later.
Timberlake died in November, 2007, of natural causes in his cell on death row at the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City, Ind. McElroy entered a guilty plea to charges of assisting a criminal and received a four-year sentence. He was released after serving two years.

No comments: