Thursday, September 20, 2018

He is greatly missed …

By Marilyn Goodheart
Marilyn and Dean Goodheart
Early morning of Sept. 6, 1995, my husband, Master Trooper Dean Goodheart, was conducting a roadside safety inspection on a semi on eastbound I-70. During the inspection, he stepped down from the driver’s door of the semi cab and was struck and instantly killed by a passing motorist. The driver that killed my husband had been driving all night to return to college in Colby. Sleepy drivers are as dangerous as drunk drivers! If she had moved over to the far lane, I believe he would be with us today.
On that day, our family was changed forever! I lost my husband and best friend of 15 years. My children and grandchildren lost a great father, grandfather and mentor. He is missed by family, friends and co-workers.
Dean joined the Kansas Highway Patrol in 1972. He enjoyed his job and the people he worked with. He knew the dangers when he chose this profession but loved helping people.  After 23 years of service to the citizens of the state of Kansas and the Kansas Highway Patrol, we had been looking forward to Dean retiring and spending time with family and traveling.
Dean was just 49 years-old at the time of his death. We had three grandsons and were expecting our first granddaughter. My two granddaughters never got to meet their Grandad, and he did not get to enjoy them growing up. We now have great-grandchildren. Dean is greatly missed at all functions of our life - graduations, weddings, holidays and school activities.
In 2000, House Bill 2641 was signed into law requiring drivers to “Slow Down and Move Over” near stopped emergency vehicles. This bill is known by many as the “Goodheart Law” and has reduced the number of emergency vehicles and officers being struck. The Goodheart Law was amended during the 2006 legislative session to incorporate roadside crews, such as the Patrol's Motorist Assistance Technicians and the Kansas Department of Transportation's highway road crews. The amendment requires traffic on four-lane highways to move away from vehicles engaged in highway construction or maintenance operations when those vehicles are displaying an amber flashing light.
Because of this tragedy, we became active with National Concerns of Police Survivors. In March 2001, some of our Kansas survivors and myself were instrumental in starting a Kansas chapter to be there for other survivors. Kansas Concerns of Police Survivors supports families of officers killed in the line of duty.
On May 8, 2018, Gov. Jeff Colyer signed SB 375 into law designating memorial highways across Kansas to honor the sacrifice our fallen officers have made. SB 375 was unanimously passed by both the House and Senate before its adoption. My husband Dean’s marker is located on Highway 83 near Colby. As you pass these highway markers, please remember to give all first responders and road crews room to work so they may go home to their families at the end of their shift!
It has been 23 years since we lost Dean, and a day doesn’t go by that I don’t think about him. He is greatly missed by me, his children and the grandchildren who missed an opportunity to grow up with such a great Grandad.
Marilyn Goodheart, wife of Master Trooper Dean Goodheart, lives in Lawrence.


  1. Marilyn, Thanks for sharing your story. A law and marker is no consolation for your loss but hopefully they remind others to pay attention to first responders and road crews.

  2. Thanks for sharing your story, Marilyn. The loss of a loved one from such a preventable tragedy is so hard. I am deeply sorry for your loss. I am proud that Kansas has adopted these laws and ways to honor KHP troopers with these memorial signs. Hopefully more lives can be saved.

  3. Thanks for sharing your story and so glad you helped pass the law to move over ! So sorry for your lost, he was so young! God bless!!

  4. It's sad to think of all the things that he has missed out on. Reading your story is a good reminder to move over for everyone who is working or stopped along the roadways. Thank you for your efforts to improve safety.

  5. Always have to shed a tear when I think about this unnecessary death. Trooper Goodheart was one of the good guys for sure. He is missed. Erma Gee

  6. I am proud to say He is family. So sorry for your loss! What a beautiful tribute to your husband . My mom Mary Ellen was his first cousin. I'm sorry I didn't get to know him better.
    Love Aimee (Markel) Jones