The Thin Gray Line
By Eugenia Jones
Nearly forty-six years after his death, Kentucky State Trooper John Wayne Hutchinson’s family and friends along with Kentucky State Troopers gathered to honor and pay tribute to the fallen trooper’s dedication to his community and the Commonwealth of Kentucky. In an annual event commemorating Kentucky State Troopers who have made the ultimate sacrifice during the line of duty, Kentucky State Police (KSP) Troopers from Post 11 in London, KY placed a wreath at Hutchinson’s burial site in Elk Spring Cemetery. Hutchinson was shot and killed in the line of duty at Mt. Pleasant in McCreary County on June 4, 1975.
At the time of his death, Hutchinson was only twenty-nine years old and had served with KSP for two years. Hutchinson was well-liked throughout the McCreary County community. At the time of his death, Hutchinson had lived in the county for one year and six months and was a member of the Whitley City First Baptist Church.
According to the June 10, 1975 edition of The McCreary County Record, Trooper Ed Pierce was near Whitley City when he heard Hutchinson’s call for assistance and rushed to help him. After being held up by a train crossing at Mt. Pleasant, Trooper Pierce arrived on the scene approximately thirteen minutes after Hutchinson’s last call out to find the wounded trooper barely alive. Pierce rushed Hutchinson to the hospital in Scott County, TN where Hutchinson was pronounced dead on arrival.
Friends, family, and Kentucky State Troopers are pictured above during the ceremony honoring Trooper Hutchinson-a fallen hero of the thin gray line of Kentucky State Troopers. Throughout Kentucky State Trooper history, a total of thirty-one troopers have died in the line of service.