On September 8, 1951, Detective Sergeant James T. Gaughan, 37, was killed in an early morning collision between the police car in which he and his partner, Detective Sergeant Bethel E. Gaither, were riding and another car that was darting through the intersection at North and Alabama Streets. Both detectives were thrown to the pavement by the impact. Sergeant Gaughan, whose skull was fractured, died at the scene. Sergeant Gaither survived the crash.
Sergeants Gaughan and Gaither were travelling north to investigate a disturbance in the 800 block of Alabama Street when a car darted east through the intersection. The driver of the other car was not hurt. He was held under $5,000 bond on charges of reckless homicide, vagrancy, and failure to stop at a preferential street.
The accident brought strong criticism of the North and Alabama Streets intersection from police who reported "hardly a day goes by without an accident there."
Sergeant Gaughan had been on the police force nine years at the time of his death. He was a Cathedral High School graduate and played football fullback. He was survived by his wife, Kathryn, an 11-year-old son, and 7-year old daughter. Sergeant Gaughan, a homicide investigator, was scheduled to leave on vacation after his shift on September 8. He and his family were planning a trip to New York City. He is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery.
Earlier in the summer of 1951, Sergeants Gaughan and Gaither responded to the scene of the death of Officer Clarence Snorden.
Source: The Indianapolis Star, June 27 and Sept 9, 1951. The Indianapolis News, Sept. 10, 1951.