Mark Edens is a retired state trooper who worked for the Michigan State Police for 25 years.
During that time, he was often tasked with investigating fatal car accidents on Michigan’s highways.
At StoryCorps, he sat down with his daughter, Jessie, to talk about his work.
Click here for the transcript.
Most of my interaction with people was the worst moment of their life.
One night, we came upon a head-on accident. There was a man in a Volkswagen that had been hit by a pickup truck going the wrong way. It turns out I knew the man. He had just moved from someplace in Wisconsin and he had three little kids -- very little, I think the oldest was probably six or seven.
So I went to the home about twelve o'clock that night. And his wife thought he was bowling and she had gone to sleep. And the house was dark. I had to wake her up, tell her what happened.
Ma'am, I'm sorry to tell you but your husband was in an accident and he was killed. The best thing you can do is to tell somebody right away. A lot of the guys would just say it and run -- they never left the porch. But, I took her in the house and said, "Is there someone we can call?"
And then, one of the kids came out of the bedroom and he said to me, "What's wrong?" Well his mother, she was talking on the phone with her parents. And me standing there and saying, Well go ask your mom, I mean, that was just the wrong thing to do. So I remember sitting in that living room with that little boy, telling him what happened. I couldn't lie to him and I always felt that it was better me telling them than someone else.
Delivering a death message is not an easy thing, but that was one of the harder ones. And I always felt that it was something that I was born to do because I could do it.