A police officer in Indiana went out of his way – literally -- to help a stranded military vet get home this Thanksgiving.
Trooper Dan Criswell, a 9-year veteran, and his trainee Trooper Ty Mays were responding to a disabled vehicle late Wednesday night on Interstate 70 westbound near the Indianapolis International Airport when they found a white work van stalled in the roadway with 59-year-old Daniel Breaux of Church Point, Louisiana inside, according to Indiana State Police.
Breaux told the police he had traveled to Indianapolis to help a family member move to the area and was on his way home when his car broke down. He had only $100 on him, just enough for gas money to get home, according to authorities.
The troopers helped push the van to a safe location on the shoulder of the roadway and offered Breaux a ride, but the man declined saying he would call friends for help. A short time later, Criswell and Mays returned with a warm meal for Breaux and again offered him a ride, but he said he was confident he would reach someone for help.
Early Thanksgiving morning, Criswell, who was off-duty, drove back to the location he had left Breaux and to his surprise, the man was still in the vehicle, asleep, according to police. Criswell, now determined to help Breaux, contacted a number of towing companies in the area, telling them Breaux’s story until he found one willing to help.
D&D Auto and Towing LLC of Clayton, Indiana towed the van free of charge to Criswell’s home, where his brother Kyle, a mechanic, would ultimately work on the van.
The problems with the van were worse than anyone thought and it quickly became clear it would be a costly fix.
By this time, Criswell’s other brother, Dustin Criswell, the vice principal for Perry Meridian Middle School, also had come to help. Dustin Criswell offered to give Breaux an old pick-up he no longer used as a gift to help get Breaux home.
The brothers worked on the pick-up to make sure it was ready for the trip and invited Breaux to celebrate Thanksgiving with their family. It was then they learned that he was a military veteran.
The family gathered up enough money to make sure Breaux would get home safely.
“Police officers often go above and beyond expectations and this is just one example of selfless dedication to service,” Indiana State Police said in a statement. “A small family owned business, D & D Auto and Towing generously offered their services, which started this chain of kindness.”