Firefighter remembered as full of potential

By BILL POWELL
bpowell@dcherald.com

MONTGOMERY — The volunteer firefighter killed at the scene of a crash Friday night after being run over by another responding firefighter worked in Jasper and showed amazing potential, according to his boss at German American Insurance and his fire chief with the Montgomery Volunteer Fire Department.

Murphy

Kendall J. Murphy, 27, of Montgomery, was pronounced dead at the scene of that crash southeast of Montgomery that was reported at 9:55 p.m. The other firefighter has been preliminarily charged with felony impaired driving causing death.

Joe Dedman, president and CEO of German American Insurance, understands what Murphy was trying to do to help Friday night and why he was doing it because Dedman has a son who is a firefighter in Petersburg.

“It makes it tough,” Dedman says.

Murphy worked as a personal insurance agent out of German American Bank’s main office in Jasper. Dedman says he was “a wonderful young man. Full of potential. He just had a great personality and really connected with people right away.

“He was just a bright young man. He had a bright future ahead of him.”

Photo provided
Montgomery Fire Chief Tim Showalter says his favorite memory of Kendall Murphy came from a summer fundraiser this year when Kendall volunteered to dress as Sparky the Fire Dog.

Montgomery Fire Chief Tim Showalter says Murphy was a third generation fire service member who he had known all his life. Murphy’s father, Dwayne Murphy, is probably a 30-year member of the department and his grandfather, Steve Murphy, is still an active member with 47 or 48 years on the department, the chief said.

“We’re all involved in the funeral and he’s getting a full fireman’s funeral,” Showalter said.

Showalter says Murphy was dependable and would do anything for the department.

“He was overall just a great kid,” Showalter said. “A great firefighter. A great person, period.”

The chief’s favorite memory of the young firefighter came from a summer fundraiser this year when Murphy volunteered to dress as Sparky the Fire Dog.

“He would do anything for any person,” the chief said.

Dedman said the German American family is devastated by the loss. He added that Murphy had just gotten engaged to be married.

“The staff at the bank had really accepted him and made him feel part of their team,” Dedman said today. “I know they are taking it very hard this morning also.”

Friday’s accident was reported along Old Highway 50 (Daviess County Road 100S), just west of Daviess County Road 800E, according to Indiana State Police. Deputies from the Daviess County Sheriff’s Department and three firefighters from the Montgomery and Cannelburg fire departments had arrived at the scene, police said.

Murphy and the two other firefighters had arrived in their personal vehicles.

Blake

A fourth responding firefighter, 26-year-old Colby Blake of Cannelburg, was traveling east in his 2006 Dodge Ram truck, police said. While approaching the scene, Blake, a member of the Cannelburg Volunteer Fire Department, struck the rear of another Dodge Ram truck parked by a firefighter along the south side of the road. Blake’s Dodge continued east, striking the 2013 Ford Fusion parked near Murphy, who was standing outside of his Ford truck. Police said Kendall was struck by Blake’s Dodge as it continued east.

Blake’s truck then crashed into a third firefighter’s vehicle, a 2007 Ford F350 truck, before stopping.

Authorities said Murphy suffered numerous injuries after being struck and was pronounced deceased at the scene by the Daviess County Coroner.

Blake was uninjured in the crash; however, after further investigation, was found to be operating while intoxicated with a blood alcohol level of .21 percent, police alleged.

Blake has been preliminarily charged with a Level 4 felony count of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated causing death and misdemeanor reckless driving. He is being held in the Daviess County Security Center.

During a partial initial hearing today in Daviess County Superior Court, the Daviess County Prosecutor’s Office sought and received 72 hours to file formal charges. The court denied Blake’s request for pauper counsel, according to court documents.

It is being reported that Gov. Eric Holcomb has directed flags in Daviess County to be flown at half staff until sunset Tuesday, the day of Murphy’s funeral.

His obituary can be found here. It says Kendall was an active member at Providence Mennonite Church and will be buried in the church cemetery. It says Kendall loved the Kansas Jayhawks, Cincinnati Reds, Notre Dame and golf.




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