Illinois State Police vehicles line up outside the Stephenson County Coroner’s office on Thursday in Freeport after a procession to deliver the body of Trooper Brooke Jones Story, who was struck and killed by a truck while conducting a traffic stop earlier in the day. (Scott P. Yates/Rockford Register Star via AP)
A State of Illinois Police trooper was killed early Saturday when a driver going the wrong way slammed into his patrol car. The crash is the third Illinois trooper death this year, and the second in just three days.
Trooper Gerald Ellis, 36, was described as “a great hero” by his colleagues. He was at work and on the way home in his patrol car on Interstate 94 when a wrong way driver hit his vehicle about 3:25 pm
Ellis, an 11-year State Police veteran, died in the hospital less than an hour later.
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Ellis was also a military veteran, and he leaves a wife and two children.
Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly called the loss “a bitter salt in an open wound.”
On Thursday, Trooper Bridget Jones-the Story was killed when a truck hit her in Freeport. In January, a vehicle hit Trooper Christopher Lambert in the near Northbrook.
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The casualties come amid a strong increase of the driver’s hit squad cars that were stopped with their emergency flashers on.
Saturday’s death is the first time in the 66 years that the State of Illinois Police has lost three state troopers in only one year.
The police wrote a tweet Thursday, following Jones Story is the death, with a picture of the motorway the overhead signs reading: “enough Is Enough”, along with a message on Scott’s Law.
Scott’s Law, also known as the “Move it” Law requires drivers to slow down and to switch when approaching a “stationary authorized emergency” vehicles with their warning lights on, the State of Illinois, Police explained on their website.
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“There are only two ways it stops: People to drive safely, or troopers stop patrolling,” Kelly said. “And there is nothing and nobody on Earth or in heaven or hell that will ever keep these troopers from doing the work that they swore to do.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.