Col. P.J. Hoye hugs family members during the dedication ceremony for Trooper Mark E. Toney #227 District 2.&nbsp; Toney was lost in action on Highway 69 South of Indianola on Sept 20, 2011.&nbsp; A bridge 4 miles South of Indianola has been named in his honor.&nbsp; <span style="font-size: xx-small;"><em>Photo by Conrad Schmidt for the Daily Times Herald</em></span>
Col. P.J. Hoye hugs family members during the dedication ceremony for Trooper Mark E. Toney #227 District 2.  Toney was lost in action on Highway 69 South of Indianola on Sept 20, 2011.  A bridge 4 miles South of Indianola has been named in his honor.  Photo by Conrad Schmidt for the Daily Times Herald
Friday, September 21, 2012

An Iowa State Patrol trooper who spent most of his career patrolling the Carroll area but died last year in an unexplained crash near Indianola was honored Thursday when his colleagues renamed a bridge in that area for him.

The Trooper Mark Toney Memorial Bridge.

It’s about four miles south of Indianola on U.S. Highway 65/69 where the road crosses the South River.

“One year ago today, we lost him,” state patrol Col. P.J. Hoye said at the memorial ceremony Thursday in Indianola, one of eight planned this year to honor troopers who died on-duty. “These dedications will serve as a reminder of the gratitude we have for the fallen.”

State investigators were unable to determine the cause of the fiery crash that killed Toney, 43, who was northbound on the Highway 65/69 at about 4:40 p.m. on Sept. 20, 2011 when his patrol car went off the roadway about 1 1/2 miles south of Indianola, struck a culvert, rolled several times and caught fire.

An autopsy showed that Toney died as the car crashed and rolled — not from the fire.

Investigators assume Toney planned to stop a vehicle for a traffic violation at the time. Witnesses said his emergency lights were on, but he did not tell dispatchers what he was doing. Toney was driving at an estimated speed of 115 to 120 mph when his car went off the roadway.

Toney had transferred not long before the crash to Warren County but had patrolled the Carroll County area for about 13 years of his 24-year career.

Toney volunteered with the local Boy Scouts. His son Darrin was one of three Carroll-area scouts who survived a tornado in 2008 at the Little Sioux Scout Ranch in Monona County. Four scouts died in the tornado.

Dan Renneke, a fellow Scout volunteer, told the Daily Times Herald last year that Mark Toney was a dedicated father of two sons.

“I’ll miss him extremely,” Renneke said at the time. “It’s hard to imagine not having him around anymore.”

Darrin is a mechanical engineering major at Iowa State University in Ames. Toney’s high-school-aged son Adam lives in Carroll with Toney’s ex-wife Mary.

Lt. Brad Pollard, who worked with Toney for a couple of years at the state patrol’s Denison office, said last year that Toney was a cheery guy who brightened the mood wherever he went.

“Mark always had a smile on his face. He was always willing to help,” Pollard said. “It’s like losing a family member.”

Toney is the 10th trooper to die on-duty since the Iowa State Patrol was created in 1935. Toney’s death spurred fellow troopers to lobby state officials to dedicate bridges nearest to where each died.

Upcoming dedications include:

— Wednesday: Interstate Highway 380/U.S. Highway 20 at the Cedar River near Cedar Falls for trooper Charles Whitney.

— Thursday: Interstate Highway 80 bridge over the Des Moines River near Des Moines for trooper Marvin Vanderlinden.

— Oct. 18: U.S. Highway 6 at Indian Creek and Turkey Creek near Lewis for troopers Lancd Dietsch and Stan Gerling.

— Oct. 23: U.S. Highway 30 near the Boyer River near Dunlap for trooper Ralph Garthwaite.

— Oct. 24: Iowa Highway 34 at the Nishnabotna River near Red Oak for trooper Harold Klinkefus.

For more information about the dedication events, go online to www.dps.state.ia.us.