A second Illinois State Police trooper died during a roadside traffic stop. Trooper Brooke Jones-Story, a 12-year veteran of the Illinois State Police, based out of ISP District 16 in Pecatonica, was killed while she was conducting a roadside vehicle inspection along U.S. Route 20 near Freeport. She was struck and killed by a semi, which then struck another semi.
Maybe it’s my age showing, but in the photo that the ISP released of her, the trooper doesn’t look old enough to have been out of high school for 12 years, let alone a state trooper.
I don’t know the ISP shifts, or when they change. But I was thinking tonight about the trooper.
She is the 15th Illinois State Police trooper to be involved in a roadside accident during a traffic stop this year. She is the second fatality. Trooper Christopher Lambert was killed when he was struck in January while off-duty and on his way home to his wife and baby daughter.
We don’t know many more details about Trooper Brooke Jones-Story right now. We don’t know the details of her life or family.
But we can guess that she, like all of us, was making plans for the weekend before she left for her shift today. Maybe she had to work so she was planning a weekend around that.
If not, perhaps she had plans with family or just staying home and getting some yard work done or maybe bingeing her favorite Netflix series.
Maybe something outdoors, hiking, if the weather was nice. Maybe those plans involved family at some point or some time with friends.
Instead, before this day would end, her next of kin would receive the worst news they will ever hear, accompanied by details of the accident that killed her. All of those plans changed in an instant from the things you tend to plan on weekends to her family planning a funeral.
It is the law in Illinois.
There are fines and charges that go along with not doing that when you come upon an emergency vehicle — and that can be anything from a wrecker to an ambulance to a police car, fire truck, IDOT maintenance vehicle, IDOT snowplow, whatever — with its lights flashing.
If you drive a big rig, whether you are hauling grain or propane or livestock or if are a long haul driver, if you see a fellow driver who doesn’t slow down and move over, remind them that it is the law in Illinois and in Indiana. If you see an emergency vehicle up ahead and someone isn’t pulling over and you can let them know to do so, do it.
Remind all the drivers you know, from parents to grandparents, spouses, coworkers and friends, and regardless of what they drive or how far they drive, to slow down, pull over and give other vehicles room to pull over, too, when they see an emergency vehicle with its lights flashing on the side of the road.
Remind them that it’s the law. Remind them that they may save a life by doing so.