TRAFALGAR, Ind. – A man died and a Trafalgar police officer was seriously hurt following a weekend pursuit and crash in Johnson County.
On Saturday, Officer Dustin Moody, 30, crashed while pursuing a pickup truck in the early morning hours. The driver of the other vehicle, 23-year-old Jacob G. Roberts of Nineveh, died in the incident.
According to the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, Moody was sitting in his squad car in the parking lot of a business near State Road 135 and County Road 300S when Roberts’ truck sped past. The Chevy pickup, headed southbound on SR 135, turned west on County Road 300S; Moody said he could hear the truck’s tires squealing as it made the turn.
Moody left the parking lot and pursued the truck. He eventually caught up to it near some railroad tracks and saw the truck go past a stop sign without stopping. Moody turned on his emergency lights and siren, but the truck kept going.
The officer tried to inform dispatch of the pursuit but realized he was in a dead spot and his radio wasn’t working.
Moody continued pursuing the truck until both vehicles crashed into an embankment at County Road 300S and County Road 600W. The sheriff’s office said there’s a T-intersection at the location. The vehicles didn’t crash into each other, police said.
Moody radioed dispatch after the crash to request help from other officers.
Roberts was pronounced dead at the scene; the coroner’s office said he died from blunt force trauma. Toxicology results are pending.
Moody suffered serious injuries and was flown to an Indianapolis hospital. He started with the Trafalgar Police Department in June 2019 and has been a full-time officer since December 2020.
“I came down here today to see the area and pay my respects to the both of them,” said Robert Stockton, a Trafalgar resident who was visiting the memorial that now sits near County Roads 300 South and 600 West.
Stockton said he personally knew Officer Moody and claimed to have spoken to him just an hour before the crash.
“I didn’t believe it at first due to the fact that I just talked to him,” said Stockton. He said he and Officer Moody had just wrapped up conversations regarding a crash that happened just hours earlier involving a Johnson County Sheriff’s Office deputy who was on his way to serve a civil order in Greenwood. According to police, the deputy was driving his marked vehicle to serve the order when an individual in another vehicle failed to yield the right away and struck the deputy.
“We talked for about 30 minutes and I said, ‘Be careful.’ Then the next day I heard about the wreck,” said Stockton.
“It’s a small community and word travels fast,” said Jeff Eisenmenger, a longtime resident and local business owner who said he heard about the incident just hours later.
“[Officer Moody] was always about taking care of crime and making the town of Trafalgar the best it could be.”
Eisenmenger said Moody was a frequent customer of his business, Small Town Pizza & Subs. Now, the local pizza restaurant on West Pearl Street will serve as an opportunity to give back.
“[Officer Moody’s] facing a lot of difficult times right now and, you know, we’re supposed to help each other out,” said Eisenmenger. “So tomorrow and Wednesday, we’re giving 20% back of our proceeds and sales.”
Eisenmenger says the money would be given to Moody’s family to help cover treatment and recovery expenses. The promotion applies on dine-in, carryout, or delivery orders.
“He’s a great person and, to be honest, I love people and he’s one of kind,” said Eisenmenger.
To read more about the promotion at Small Town Pizza & Subs, or to find a link to donate directly, click here.
Responding agencies to the crash on Saturday included the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, Bargersville Police Department, Trafalgar Police Department, Trafalgar Fire Department, Bargersville Fire Department and Seals Ambulance Service.