Southern Indiana officer killed in the line of duty finally honored more than 70 years after death
Once the final story about his passing went to press in 1945, all memory of Drury's sacrifice seemed to vanish.
JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- In April of 1945, it was big news.
Headlines in the Jeffersonville Evening News read: "Officer Drury shot by navy deserter," and "Patrolman Drury fails to survive after long fight."
Todd Bearden and Pam Bonifer have heard a much more personal side to the printed words. Jeffersonville Officer William Drury was their great-grandfather and a man they never got the chance to meet.
His life was cut short by a Navy deserter he was taking into custody.
"Supposedly, he got spooked by some federal agents, and that's when he grabbed my grandfather's gun," Bearden said. "They wrestled for it."
"The gentleman took the gun from him and shot him in his throat," Bonifer added.
The officer survived for weeks only to lose his battle for life later at Clark Memorial Hospital. Once the final story about his passing went to press, all memory of Drury's sacrifice seemed to vanish.
"It's just got overlooked," Bearden said. "It was a long time ago, and they didn't keep records like they do today."
That is until 2012 when new information came to light, and Lt. Glenn Jackson did some research.
"I actually talked with officers that were on the department all the way back to 58 and could not find anyone who knew anything about it," Jackson said.
He found those newspaper clippings though, and realized that somehow, someway, Drury's death slipped through the cracks.
Jeffersonville Police made up for lost time Monday.
The only officer the force has ever lost was finally honored. The police department did it with a new bridge called "Fallen Hero Crossing," a plaque and the support of men and women who wear the badge today.
"I'm honored that I could be part of what went down," Glenn said.
For great-grandchildren, Bearden and Bonifer, it was the perfect send-off to a man whose life has always meant more than the recognition it received.
"He will live on forever now," Bearden said.
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