Local State Troopers Honored by State Police For Service

Master Trooper Michael Gruett

The Indiana State Police Department recently held an awards and recognition ceremony for several troopers in honor of their dedication to service, bravery and devotion to the department and to the citizens.

Corporal Dan Becker, 42, from the Lowell Post was presented the Life Saving Award. Becker, a member of the Patriot Guard, was in a procession escorting the body of Spc. Robert Tauteris Jr., when an accident occurred along U.S. 30 on Jan. 14.

While the procession was eastbound, a westbound Jeep driven by Ana Pina, 35 of South Bend, was rear-ended by a pick-up driven by 76-year-old John Buibish of Grovertown. The Jeep caught fire and veered across the median of U.S. 30 into the path of the procession. The police and members of the Patriot Guard rushed to the accident and pulled Pina, her six-year-old twins, and mother from the burning wreckage.

Becker and personnel from the North Judson-Wayne Township Fire Department were able to pull all four occupants out of the Jeep. The 35-year-old mother and her six-year-old daughter suffered severe injuries and burns and were airlifted to hospitals in Chicago. Becker also suffered smoke inhalation and burns from the accident.

Becker was also nominated for a Carnegie Medal from the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission.

Master Trooper Michael Gruett, a Plymouth resident who works at the Bremen Post, was given the Trooper of the District Award for his outstanding service to North Central Indiana.