EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - A few EPD officers have been pushing for a new bill to be passed, which would raise awareness for officer safety while on the road.
One of those is retired officer Allen Gansman. In 2016, he was struck while assisting a stranded motorist on Diamond Avenue.
House Bill 1225 would raise the punishment in similar incidents from an infraction to a felony. But for some of the officers, it’s not about the punishment, it’s about the awareness.
It’s been more than three years since the accident that stole Allen Gansman’s career and nearly cost him his life.
That day in 2016, he parked his motorcycle on Diamond Avenue to help a driver whose car had broken down in the right-hand lane.
“I turned my back just for a split second it seemed like and then I felt the impact,” Gansman recalls.
A car traveling more than 50 mph hit Gansman’s motorcycle, sending it flying into his right leg. His partner and friend, EPD Sgt. Nick Winsett, was one of the first to arrive.
“There was debris all over the roadway, and my immediate thought was, 'Allen is no more, no longer with us," says Sgt. Winsett. "That was my immediate thought.”
It was the beginning of a long road to recovery, but Gansman’s won’t ever be back at 100 percent.
It was later discovered the driver that hit Gansman had been texting.
“It was very frustrating because to think that this officer was doing his job, he’s out in traffic and that’s just the nature of the beast," explains Sgt. Winsett. "We can’t just say no, we are not going to do that.”
So by sharing his story and urging lawmakers to pass House Bill 1225, he hopes to prevent others from having the same traumatic experience.
“I hope it just brings to light and if it just saves one person, officer or firefighter from having an injury, or worse the bill will be well worth it," says Gansman. "Just to bring drivers aware.”
Gansman tells us they hope that the bill will be passed sometime during March. More importantly, though, he is thankful to still be able to be here for his family.