State Trooper Gerald Ellis heroically sacrificed his life this past Saturday, moving his patrol car to shield a family from a driver traveling the wrong way down the Interstate. The incident occurred on I-94 in Illinois, near Libertyville, at approximately 3:25 a.m. Trooper Ellis was a member of the Illinois State Police.
Ellis, 36, was directly ahead and two lanes over from a vehicle carrying a family returning from a trip to Washington D.C. Ellis crossed lanes and positioned his squad car in front of the family. A car traveling eastbound in the westbound lanes then collided with Ellis’s squad car.
The person in the other vehicle also died of his injuries. It is not clear why the individual did not stop in time. However, the Lake County coroner concluded the driver had alcohol in his system at the time of the crash. Illinois State Police Acting Director Brendan Kelly released a statement: “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.”
Ellis was an eleven-year veteran and had previously served as a U.S. Marine. He was the father of two children.
Ellis’s death marked the second state trooper death in the span of just three days. Last Thursday, Illinois State Trooper Brooke Jones-Story was killed while on duty. She had been conducting a traffic stop on U.S. Highway 20 when a passing vehicle struck her, her squad car, and the truck she had pulled over. No one else was injured.
The incident occurred at approximately 12:20 p.m. The driver has been taken into custody. Brooke Jones-Story was just 34 years old.