BLOOMINGTON — A Bloomington highway bridge has been renamed for a deputy sheriff who died at an accident scene 12-years ago.
The State Road 45 bridge over Interstate 69 is near the site where Monroe County Deputy Sheriff Sarah Irene Haylett-Jones was struck by a vehicle while directing traffic around a stranded vehicle in 2008. She died two-days later at an Indianapolis hospital.
"This is symbolic in that not only will Sarah never be forgotten for her service to her community and country, but also for all her fellow law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line to protect us," said State Representative Peggy Mayfield (R-Martinsville). "The sacrifice Sarah Irene Haylett-Jones made could be asked of any of those who serve on any given day." Mayfield co-authored the resolution naming the bridge for Haylett-Jones.
Margie Clouse was one of the first responders at the scene. She initiated the idea for a marker memorializing Haylett-Jones. "I made a promise many years ago that I would never allow Sarah to be forgotten," Clouse said. "I pray that I have finally fulfilled that promise."
Haylett-Jones was a Michigan native who served with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office for eight months. Prior to that she was with Alabama’s Montgomery Police Department and was a U.S. Air Force veteran.
Kim Haylett, mother of Haylett-Jones, said her daughter decided she wanted to go into law enforcement when she was 15. Haylett-Jones enrolled in a criminal justice program her junior year of high school and participated in the Michigan State Police's explorers program, earning the rank of captain.
"Our family carries Sarah in our hearts every day," Haylett said. "We have the blessing of her memories, and the hope she's never forgotten."
The young driver who struck Haylett-Jones was using a cell phone when the crash occurred. During the 2020 legislative session, Kim Haylett testified in support of of a new law restricting motorists in Indiana from holding cell phones and other electronic devices when driving.