Friends mourn Toll Road worker killed on the job

Published: Jul. 3, 2020 at 6:52 PM EDT
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MISHAWAKA, Ind. (WNDU) - A local motorcycle charity group is remembering one of their own, Ron Smith, who was killed Thursday while working on the Indiana Toll Road.

Smith was 61.

“If anytime we heard that something happened on the Toll Road, you know we’d call him and text him, making sure it wasn’t – half-joking, half-really checking up on him,” said Red “Savage” Fisher, the vice president of Warriors Oath, a veterans’ riding group.

Just a few hours after chatting with Smith, Fisher received a call regarding his friend.

“So when we heard that it was [him], we weren’t sure because no one else heard anything yet, because it was so soon after it had happened that we had heard, and it turns out, unfortunately, that it was true,” Fisher added.

Around 2 p.m Thursday, Indiana State Police say Smith, an Edwardsburg resident, had parked his maintenance truck off the side of the eastbound lanes, just a mile west of Exit 83. The emergency lights were on. But a Minnesota driver in an SUV side-wiped the truck and then Smith before rolling into a ditch.

The driver, 70-year-old Charles Bellows, and his passenger, Deborah Bellows, 69, were treated for minor injuries at the hospital.

Known in Warriors Oath as “Highway”, Smith – an Army veteran -- was also known for his compassion.

“If you needed him, he was there for you. If you asked him to do anything, he’d do it for you,” remarked David “Bullfrog” Short, of Warriors Oath.

The riding group considered their first charter member a part of their own families, making the tragic loss more difficult. They are reminding motorists to be alert.

“Pay attention to the road,” stressed Jeremy “Pipe” Gadsby, of Warriors Oath. “What happened with Highway here, it only takes a split second, and you’re traveling at those highway speeds, that split second is cut down to milliseconds to react.”

Visitation for Smith will be Tuesday, July 7th, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. His funeral is happening at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, July 8th. All of this will take place at Yoder Culp Funeral Home in Goshen.

Copyright 2020 WNDU. All rights reserved.

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