Dean Allen Goodheart was born in Russell, Kansas, on April 9, 1946. He graduated from Russell High School in 1964 and served a short tour in the United States Army.
Goodheart joined the Patrol on November 1, 1972, and was assigned to Valley Center following completion of the academy. In 1974, he voluntarily transferred to Thomas County. He was assigned to the Patrol's Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) in 1993. Goodheart was promoted to Master Trooper in 1994 and continued his motor carrier safety duties until his death.
At about 6:30 a.m., on September 6, 1995, Goodheart was performing a roadside inspection of a semi-truck on westbound Interstate 70 near Colby. As he conducted a walk-around safety inspection of the truck, a westbound car driven by an 18-year-old college student struck him. Goodheart's injuries were immediately fatal.
Goodheart was 49 years old at the time of his death and served the citizens of Kansas for more than 23 years. He was survived by his wife, Marilyn, and 3 grown children.
During the 2000 Legislative Session, the Kansas State Troopers Association and the Patrol jointly supported House Bill 2641 to require drivers on interstates and other multi-lane highways to slow down and move over near stopped emergency vehicles. House Bill 2641, known by many as the "Goodheart Law," was signed by Governor Bill Graves on May 16, 2000.
The law has proven to improve the roadside safety of troopers. Between 1995 and 1999, there were 70 crashes involving a Highway Patrol vehicle legally parked on the shoulder of the road with its lights flashing. In the four years following the passage of Goodheart's Law, the number of such crashes dropped to 25.
Goodheart's Law was amended during the 2006 Legislative Session to incorporate roadside crews, such as the Patrol's Motorist Assistance Technicians and the Kansas Department of Transportation's highway road crews. The amendment requires traffic on four-lane highways to move away from vehicles engaged in highway construction or maintenance operations when those vehicles are displaying an amber flashing light. Governor Kathleen Sebelius signed the bill into law on April 18, 2006.