As I sit here today reflecting on my 32 years as a Kansas
State Trooper, it’s hard to think of a stretch of highway in southwest Kansas
that I haven’t seen a fatality accident.Through the years I have had many responsibilities and duties. The duty
that I dreaded the most, and that affected me the most, was the responsibility
to make death notifications to the next of kin of those who died in fatality
I have been the messenger that has changed people’s lives
forever, and those notifications have changed me forever. I have been hit,
called a liar and asked why more times than I care to remember.
I remember every time I have pulled up to the houses of
loved ones, put on my campaign hat, practiced what I was going to say, and then
the long wait for someone to come to the door. Then comes the moment where the
door opens, and the person realizes that there is a State Trooper at their door
in the middle of the night, and their world is going to change forever.
I have told friends, and complete strangers that their
loved ones would never come home again. I have shed tears for all of them. Some
right there, right then. Some, at home alone or in my car. I remember all of
them. Some still visit me regularly in person, and some in my dreams.
I remember one of
the crashes when I was stationed in Lakin when three teenagers were killed, and
I was the first on scene. I remember the helpless feeling of not being able to
help the victims. I remember talking to the entire high school where the kids
went to school and telling them what I could about the accident, but most of
all I remember their parents.
I remember an accident in Finney county that killed four
people. I made notification to one person’s parents in Lakin and still remember
the faces of his parents today. Those same parents played in a local band for
years and played at the Kansas State Fair. I was working the fair when they
were playing, and they saw me on a golf cart patrolling the fairgrounds. They
called to me on the microphone and said they wanted to play a song for me. They
explained to the crowd that I had made the notification of their son’s death
and they wanted to play a song for me. That was the day that the big trooper on
the golf cart cried his eyes out!
I remember one of my last
notifications. I was at home taking my dinner break, when dispatch called me
about a fatality crash involving a motorcycle north of Garden City. Dispatch
told me the name of the person killed and my heart sank. It was a friend of
mine. I went to Garden City High School with him and his wife and had worked
with both in different capacities. I visit his final resting place often.
Fatality crashes affect so many people and
communities.I have been to many of the
funerals of those killed in crashes that I have worked. The families and the
communities are forever changed. As I reflect on these crashes I think “only if,”
only if circumstances had been different and we had not lost these lives? I ask
each of you who reads this to think what they can do to put the brakes on
Randy Mosher is the Troop E Commander for the Kansas Highway Patrol.