Cagle Law Firm
Attorney Zane Cagle

Posted on April 19th, 2019,
by Zane Cagle

Three IL Troopers Killed and 14 Hit in 2019 on Illinois Roadways

Posted on April 19th, 2019 by Zane Cagle

Wrong-way Driver and Illinois State Police Trooper Killed in Head-On Crash

A wrong-way driver was killed in a crash that also killed an Illinois State Police trooper on Interstate 94 near north suburban Libertyville, IL.  Lake County Coroner said last week that the autopsy of the 44 year-old driver indicated that he died of multiple injuries due to a car crash.  A 36 year-old Illinois State Police trooper was on-duty in his squad car traveling home on westbound Interstate 94 when the 44 year old driver who was traveling eastbound struck the officer head-on. The trooper was transported to a hospital with life-threatening injuries and died due to the multiple injuries due to the crash.

This crash occurred at the very end of March and Illinois Trooper Gerald Ellis is the third ISP trooper killed in a crash since the beginning of 2019. .

Ellis was an 11 year veteran of the Illinois State Police District 15 in Downers Grove. He served in the military.  According to the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office Dave Druker, spokesman said regarding the 44 year-old driver, “He never had a driver’s license in the state of Illinois. He had no business being on the road or anywhere near an automobile.” According to reports, the 44 year-old wrong-way driver was convicted of a DUI charge in Cook county in January 2010 after being ticketed 10/31/2009 and he last went to court on the active DUI ticket in November of 2018.  The Lake County Coroner’s Officer reported that consumption of alcohol by the man driving the wrong direction on the Tri-State Tollway was a factor in the crash that killed him and the trooper.  According to the Illinois records, the man’s convictions including driving without a license, four speeding citations, eight citations for driving with a suspended or revoked license and two for driving without insurance.  According to the Lake County Coroners Office, it appears the man may have consumed alcohol prior to the crash.  More information will be available following completion of toxicology reports.

Illinois State Police Trooper Brooke Jones-Story Killed within Two Days of Ellis Crash

Jones-Story was killed during a traffic stop near Rockford, IL just a few days prior to death of Officer Ellis.

Jones-Story was struck by a truck during a traffic stop along Route 20 near Route 75 in Freeport. Jones-Story was a 12 year veteran of the state police from District 16 in Pecatonica. She was 34 years old and the second trooper killed thus far in 2019. Jones-Story was inspecting a commercial motor vehicle at the time of the crash.  Jones-Story had parked her patrol car with lights behind the commercial vehicle she was inspecting when a truck struck her patrol car, her and the truck she was inspecting. The driver of that truck that struck her was charged with several traffic citations. The crash occurred around 12:30 p.m. and the truck undergoing an inspection was on the shoulder of U.S. Highway 20 when a semi-truck plowed into Jones-Story, her squad car and the stopped truck.

State Trooper Killed on Interstate 294 in January

Trooper Christopher Lambert was struck and killed January 12, 2019 after he stopped to assist people involved in crashes late that afternoon on I-294 near Willow road. Lambert, was in uniform but off duty and on his way home to Highland Park in an unmarked squad car at the time.  According to reports, Lambert was parked behind the crashed cars.  There was snow on the roadway.  A driver of a Mitsubishi Outlander approached and began to slow.  Another driver of a Jeep Grand Cherokee passed the Mitsubishi “at a high rate of speed” on the left shoulder, striking Lambert and “causing his body to fly into the air”, said the a witness. The driver of the Jeep was recorded going through I-Pass five minutes earlier at a speed of 71 mph in a 60 mph zone.  The driver has a 2016 reckless driving and DUI conviction from Wisconsin for whish he received 30 days jail, two years probation and 200 hours of community service. The driver was charged and if convicted faces up to 14 years in prion for violations of Scott’s Law

Scott’s Law refers to the law named for Chicago Fire Department Lt Scott Gillen who was struck and killed in 2000 while assisting a crash scene on a Chicago expressway. It is dubbed the “move over” law and requires drivers to slow down and yield to stopped emergency vehicles.

Total of 14 Illinois State Police troopers hit since January 2019, three resulting in deaths

Every one of these officers were serving and rendering emergency aid to motorists who had been in motor vehicle collisions, assisting stranded motorists and conducting day-to-day traffic supervision and safety. In 2018, there were eight troopers hit in similar accidents. While eight is really high, 16 in three months is ridiculous! Not since 1997 has the Illinois State Police lost two troopers in this many days and it has been 66 years since we have lost three troopers in a single year. And it’s still only Marc, said Brendan Kelly, acting director of the Illinois State Police.

Involved in a Motor Vehicle Accident on  an Interstate or Busy Highway?

If so, seeing the face of State Trooper brings relief and a feeling of safety.  The state troopers Illinois and Missouri are highly trained officers and we rely on them heavily to keep us safe after a motor vehicle crash. These men and women are highly trained and look out for the safety of all, however, we need to take care of these officers.  Each and every one of us on the roadway MUST give them room on the roadway to work as they are working to safe. The same goes for the fire departments and the first responders.  If these people keep getting injured due to other driver’s inability to keep from hitting them while they perform their life-saving work, it may become very difficult for those individuals to keep responding to interstate and busy roadway crashes……………Then, , where will we be?

Pay Attention–Failure to See an Entire Vehicle on the Roadside

Slow down and move over to give disabled vehicles, emergency vehicles, and law enforcement some space.  If they were assisting you in a crash, you would really appreciate just a little consideration from other drivers.

If you hit an officer or other emergency vehicles while they are on the shoulder, you are going to have some legal problems. We specialize in assisting those injured in motor vehicle crashes. Thus, we know how critically important the Illinois State Police troopers and the Missouri State Highway Patrol really are in saving lives, directing traffic and documenting crashes.  The quick response of the State Troopers frequently mean the difference between life and death for many injured motorists.   However, we have to give them room to work!

Not only are officers and first responders in danger on our roadways, but the emergency service trucks and personnel are frequently injured due to failure of other drivers to pay attention or due to distracted driving.  It is not really that difficult to see an entire other vehicle (especially a semi) on the side of the roadway. If you notice that you are failing to see vehicles on the roadside until you are past them, then you are not paying attention.  At night, emergency lights can be seen for miles.  When we see an excessive number of these types of crashes, we know that either some people are simply not paying attention or they are distracted. Either way——-we must all pay attention!

Call us toll free 1.800.685.3302 or locally, 314.276.1681 for your free, no obligation consultation.