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1933: ISP forms, Dillinger released, 500 tragedy

Posted at 5:00 PM, Mar 10, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS -- In 1933, law enforcement reached a new level in Indiana with the formation of the Indiana State Police.

Officers previously known as motor vehicle police received more authority – no longer limited to enforcing just the laws of the road.

That new power was quickly put to use pursuing Indianapolis native and notorious criminal John Dillinger. He was paroled from Indiana State Prison in May of that year, and quickly returned to his life of crime.

May also took on a somber tone at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as it proved to be a tragic and deadly month in racing.

Five drivers and riding mechanics lost their lives – the most ever. Three participants died in crashes during the race. Two died during practice.

Race day started with such promise: 100,000 fans watched 42 drivers take the green flag. It was the most drivers ever to participate in the race. The field included four previous winners.

One of those previous champs was Louis Meyer, who was destined for a repeat performance. Meyer led the final 71 laps, beating his nearest competitor by more than 6 minutes and barely breaking the speed record set the year before.

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