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Former Indiana state representative dies at 38

Former Indiana state representative dies at 38

Dan Forestal

Former State Rep. Dan Forestal, D-Indianapolis, died Wednesday. He was 38.

Former state Rep. Dan Forestal, D-Indianapolis, was found dead Wednesday in an Indianapolis hotel room. He was 38.

The Marion County Coroner's Office confirmed Forestal's death. It said his cause of death is undetermined pending toxicology results.

Forestal was a former Indianapolis firefighter who represented the capital city's east side in the Indiana House from 2012 until he resigned last year "to focus on my mental health and get myself well."

Records show Forestal also was facing criminal charges, including resisting law enforcement and campaign finance violations. In addition, prosecutors were seeking to revoke his probation from a prior felony conviction for impersonating a law enforcement officer. 

For most of his House tenure, Forestal was the top Democrat on the Roads and Transportation Committee, where he routinely clashed with the chairman, state Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, over how best to prioritize and fund Indiana's infrastructure needs.

He also worked to eliminate urban blight, promote public transportation in central Indiana, and expand the availability of substance use and recovery programs.

House Democratic Leader Phil GiaQuinta, D-Fort Wayne, said Thursday he was devastated to learn of Forestal's death.

Join Tristan DeFord, Jami Rieck, and Nancy Zakutanksky on a shift working for Superior Ambulance in Merrillville.

"He was a great legislator and dedicated public servant who accomplished great things for his community during his time at the Statehouse," GiaQuinta said. "He will be remembered for his dedication to making Indiana a better place to work and raise a family."

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb said Forestal's years as both a legislator and a firefighter show Forestal "was passionate on his mission to serve Hoosiers."

"Janet and I offer his loved ones our condolences and hope that they find peace and comfort in the coming days," Holcomb said.

Forestal was the nephew of Democratic Marion County Sheriff Kerry Forestal.


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