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February 6th, 2006

when bad things happen to good people.

Not long before my shift began last night, a car became disabled out in the county, and the driver's son went out to help. A good samaritan stopped also, and when my friend went up to the window to thank that driver a woman driving way too fast lost control and crashed into them. My friend, a great father, former coworker (he also dispatched here) and one of the most purely good, honest men I've ever known, is on an operating table now, and will come out of it without a leg -- if he comes out at all.

The stupid driver who doesn't know to slow down on snowy county roads wasn't injured.

What Happened:

CRASH CRITICALLY HURTS TEACHER
A teacher and former Noble County Sheriff's Department dispatcher was critically injured when he was hit by a car while standing at an accident scene Sunday.

Rob "Robbie" Tomlinson, 43, of Topeka, was hospitalized at Parkview Hospital in Fort Wayne after the incident, which happened on CR 1200N, near 400W, at 7:39 p.m. Tomlinson was on the scene to help his children, who were involved in an accident there about an hour earlier.

Both crashes were related to the weather, which was blowing snow across area roadways, according to the Noble County Sheriff's Department.

In the first accident, a 2001 Dodge Dakota driven by 22 year old Daniel Brooks of LaGrange slid left of center, hitting an eastbound 1995 GMC driven by Tomlinson's 16 year old daughter, Laura. Robbie Tomlinson came to the scene, and from there called the Sheriff's Department to request an ambulance after his 14 year old son, who was riding with Laura, complained of chest pain from his safety belt.

A few minutes later 38 year old Janet Lindsay of Ligonier stopped to see if she could assist. Robbie Tomlinson was standing by Lindsay's 1997 Mercury van, thanking her for stopping, when he and the van were hit by a westbound 1995 Buick.

The driver of the Buick, 41 year old Paula A. Lengacher of Ligonier, told police she was blinded by other headlights at first, and when she hit the brakes she went out of control and sideswiped the van, hitting Tomlinson in the process.

Tomlinson was airlifted by Samaritan helicopter to Parkview Fort Wayne, where surgery was performed. Reports indicated Tomlinson lost a leg as a result of the accident, as well as suffering other internal fractures.

Tomlinson worked as a Sheriff's Department dispatcher in Albion, and also worked in town for the Central Noble School district, as well as dispatching for the Kendallville Police Department. He's presently a teacher for Parkside Elementary school in LaGrange. His sister is Noble County Auditor Michelle Mawhorter.

Agencies that responded to the incident included the Sheriff's Department, Samaritan, Noble County EMS, and Topeka Fire Department.

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