UPDATE: Flags at Half Staff For Another State Trooper Struck By Vehicle
The flags in Kane County will remain at half staff through Friday for yet another state trooper who was struck and killed on Illinois’ highways.
Flags have been at half staff this week to honor the service of Illinois State Police Trooper Brooke Jones-Story, who was killed while conducting a traffic stop March 28 in Freeport.
Now, the Governor’s Office has extended the honor for Trooper Gerald Ellis, 36, who was struck head-on at about 3:25 a.m. Saturday by a vehicle driven by a wrong-way driver on Interstate 94 in Green Oaks.
According to Illinois State Police, the 11-year veteran of the Illinois State Police, was taken to a local hospital, where he died just after 4 a.m. Sunday.
“While the men and women of the Illinois State Police are still grieving our recent loss, it is with profound heartache and unfathomable sadness that we inform you of the death of another fallen trooper, Trooper Gerald Ellis,” said Acting Director Brendan Kelly. “Trooper Ellis laid down his life while protecting the citizens of this state. We are asking the public to respectfully give consideration to the family of Trooper Ellis and the ISP while we continue to process and work through this tragedy.”
Jones-Story, 34, was killed while conducting a traffic stop Thursday (March 28) in Freeport, west of Rockford on U.S. Highway 20. State police said she had pulled over a truck and was outside her car inspecting the truck, when she and her squard car were hit by a semitractor-trailer.
Flags will remain at half staff through sunset on Friday, April 5. All person or entities covered by the Illinois Flag Display Act are required to honor the remembrance.
More information is available at http://www.illinois.gov/news/
State Will Crack Down
So far in 2019, 16 ISP troopers have been struck by vehicles when they were pulled over to respond to highway incidents with their emergency lights activated.
The tragic death of Trooper Christopher Lambert was the 14th such incident, which far exceeds last year’s total of eight troopers.
Also known as “Scott’s Law,” the Move Over Law was enacted in 2002 in memory of Lt. Scott Gillen of the Chicago Fire Department. Gillen was struck and killed on Dec. 23, 2000, by an intoxicated driver on the Dan Ryan Expressway while assisting at a crash scene.
“This alarming number already exceeds last year’s total of 8 and averages more than one Trooper a week. It is simply unacceptable. And while this issue is directly impacting our agency, we are one of many roadway users affected by this problem,” said ISP Acting Director Brendan Kelly.
“Scott’s Law not only applies to emergency vehicles, but also includes the general public who are having car troubles and are stuck roadside until help arrives. Our hope in bringing this to the public’s attention through our struggle, is that it increases the safety of all roadway users in their time of need. Our agency, with the support of Governor Pritzker, has made this issue a priority.”
The Move Over Law requires motorists to approach with caution and yield to emergency vehicles, including highway maintenance vehicles displaying oscillating, rotating or flashing lights. Drivers must change lanes if they can do so safely or reduce speed and proceed with caution if unable to change lanes.
Though not an exhaustive list, this would include police, fire, emergency medical system, construction and towing vehicles. As of Jan. 1, 2017, the law was also updated to include the general public when they are roadside with their emergency four-way flashers activated.
Violators of the Move Over Law are mandated to appear in court. Additionally, they can be fined not less than $100 or more than $10,000 and have their driver’s license suspended for up to two years if the violation involves injury to another.
- FEATURE PHOTO CAPTION: Lucy Kuelper, 12, wants to inspire others to move over and follow Scott’s Law as part of the “Move Over Project”.