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*** UPDATED x1 *** Another state police trooper struck, killed by motorist

Thursday, Mar 28, 2019

* This is the 15th state trooper struck by a motorist this year alone and the second who was killed

An Illinois State Police Trooper is dead after being struck by a semi on U.S. 20.

Illinois State Police confirmed the Trooper was killed a little after 3 p.m.

The crash happened around 1 p.m. Thursday afternoon, just west of Highway 75. Details on the crash are unknown at this time, but the crash location is next to the Total Self Storage Facility on E. Currier Road.

At 3:10 p.m. the South Beloit Police Department posted the following message on Facebook:

“The South Beloit Police Department sends our deepest sympathies for the Illinois State Police District 16 Trooper who was killed this afternoon in a crash while on a traffic stop in Stephenson County. This Trooper had assisted our Department on several incidents over the years. Please keep the Trooper’s family and the Illinois State Police in your thoughts and prayers.”

* From the scene earlier today…

*** UPDATE *** ISP…

Illinois State Police (ISP) Acting Director Brendan F. Kelly regretfully announces the line-of-duty death of ISP District 16 (Pecatonica) Trooper Brooke Jones-Story.

This afternoon, March 28, 2019, at approximately 11:24 a.m., Trooper Brooke Jones-Story, #5966, was inspecting a commercial motor vehicle on United States Route 20 westbound, just west of Illinois Route 75 in Stephenson County. At approximately 12:20 p.m., Trooper Jones-Story was outside her squad car when she was struck and fatally wounded when a truck tractor semi-trailer combination struck her squad car and the semi Trooper Jones-Story was inspecting.

“Today is a dark day for the Illinois State Police family. This is the six-year anniversary of the death of another Trooper, and now another brave soul, Trooper Brooke Jones-Story, has made the ultimate sacrifice for people of this state. At this very moment, the men and women of the ISP are responding and focused on the job and mission, because that’s what Trooper Jones-Story would do,” stated Acting Director Kelly.

Trooper Jones-Story was a 12-year veteran of the Illinois State Police District 16 in Pecatonica.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Guzzlepot - Thursday, Mar 28, 19 @ 3:25 pm:

    Wow, that Trooper’s poor family. I am usually a skeptic of passing laws based on headlines, but this is happening too often. I wonder if there is a legal or technological solution.

  2. - RIJ - Thursday, Mar 28, 19 @ 3:25 pm:

    This is truly appalling.

  3. - Honeybear - Thursday, Mar 28, 19 @ 3:28 pm:

    Man I just wish there was something that could be done to keep our troopers safe.
    awful, just awful.

  4. - Perrid - Thursday, Mar 28, 19 @ 3:29 pm:

    How many of them have been struck by semis? Has there been any change with semi drivers that might explain this? The surge is just baffling to me.

    Condolences to the family.

  5. - Demoralized - Thursday, Mar 28, 19 @ 3:32 pm:

    Enough of this already. I hope that truck driver gets thrown in jail for a long, long time.

    It’s time to start getting extremely tough on this sort of stuff. Going back to the failure to get over issue, start fining people thousands of dollars for failure to move over and even include the option of revoking their drivers license.

    If you can’t manage to do this then you don’t deserve to have driving privileges.

  6. - Fixer - Thursday, Mar 28, 19 @ 3:33 pm:

    Move over and slow down. What is so hard about this for people?

  7. - Cable Line Beer Gardener - Thursday, Mar 28, 19 @ 3:36 pm:

    My heart breaks for the family. Move over, slow down and turn off that darn phone.

  8. - The Dude Abides - Thursday, Mar 28, 19 @ 3:37 pm:

    It seems like a lot of these accidents involve semi’s. Maybe some of these guys have been behind the wheel for too many hours, I just don’t know. I see drivers distracted by the cell phones almost every day. I was behind a lady earlier today weaving from one side of the road to another because she was using her phone.
    Something needs to be done. Prayers to the trooper’s family.

  9. - Skeptic - Thursday, Mar 28, 19 @ 3:52 pm:

    (Not snark) Can they use those IDOT bumper trucks at least for a while as a reminder?

  10. - XonXoff - Thursday, Mar 28, 19 @ 3:53 pm:

    This is so sad. Historically, in my experience, semi drivers have always been among the first to move over and often even activate their hazard lights in situations like this. Something has changed and I hope a routine part of these investigations involves checking cellphone/texting records to see if the driver was using their phone at the time of the accident because in my somewhat jaded opinion, I wouldn’t trust many people to just come out and admit they were using their phone, if asked. Not sure how you’d catch someone who was “reading” something on their phone, though. My heartfelt condolences to the officers loved ones.

  11. - wordslinger - Thursday, Mar 28, 19 @ 3:53 pm:

    –Move over and slow down.–

    And stop blabbing or watching TV on your phone.

    I’m just sick for these troopers and their loved ones. And angry. Fifteen by march? This should not be happening.

  12. - RNUG - Thursday, Mar 28, 19 @ 3:58 pm:

    I’m generally against a heavy hand by government, but it is time for the ISP and SOS to start running daily safety checks on semis to send a message to the distracted drivers. Shut down four different highways scattered around the State every day for the next month. And have back-up teams in cooperation with local police on secondary bypass roads near the roadblocks. Write citations for every violation they can find; if nothing else they are often behind on paperwork.

    Another alternative is to have the IDOT “crash” trucks and trailers on station in high crash areas and deploy behind a squad for every stop.

    Give Illinois the reputation of being the toughest state in the nation on truck safety. If the State has to pay overtime, so be it … be cheaper in the long run.

    If you don’t like either of those suggestions, consider scattering spike strips for a mile behind any stopped squad. Wreck inattentive drivers before they hit the squad car. /s

  13. - Just Observing - Thursday, Mar 28, 19 @ 3:59 pm:

    === semi drivers have always been among the first to move over and often even activate their hazard lights ===

    I haven’t noticed that, but maybe that’s an idea — encourage semis and regular motorists to activate their hazard lights when approaching a stopped vehicle.

  14. - Soccermom - Thursday, Mar 28, 19 @ 4:00 pm:

    What is going on? Why is this happening now? Has something changed? This is bizarre and horrifying and tragic.

  15. - Anon - Thursday, Mar 28, 19 @ 4:07 pm:

    My condolences to the family of this law enforcement officer.

    I was on I-90 recently and have to admit that an ISP marked squad was not apparent to me from a distance, and this was daylight hours. IMO, the new trooper squad cars are not as visible as other police cars that I have seen in local communities and counties. I believe there should be some investigation into this to determine if more can/should be done to increase the visibility through better lighting, etc.

    Distracted driving is likely the primary cause of this surge, but if we can’t change people’s behavior, then other ideas need to be considered and implemented to improve the situation.

  16. - titan - Thursday, Mar 28, 19 @ 4:09 pm:

    It does seem to have been more semis involved in the recent ones.

  17. - Last Bull Moose - Thursday, Mar 28, 19 @ 4:12 pm:

    Second what RNUG said.

    Also, investigate the driver and their company.

    Years ago my in-laws were in an ambulance broadsided by a semi. Turned out he had his license illegally (Thanks to George Ryan ). Also the company had not done required safety training.

  18. - RNUG - Thursday, Mar 28, 19 @ 4:16 pm:

    == IMO, the new trooper squad cars are not as visible as other police cars … ==

    Maybe the marked squad cars need to be a bright color. Bright taxi yellow, stop light red, Mary Kay neon pink?

  19. - Anon - Thursday, Mar 28, 19 @ 4:20 pm:

    ===Maybe the marked squad cars need to be a bright color. Bright taxi yellow, stop light red, Mary Kay neon pink?===

    Or, maybe they need the safety chevrons that are on ambulances and fire trucks and some police cars?

  20. - Soccermom - Thursday, Mar 28, 19 @ 4:25 pm:

    Does anybody know when they switched to the new squad cars? What do they look like, as compared with the old ones?

  21. - XonXoff - Thursday, Mar 28, 19 @ 4:27 pm:

    I’m speculating but I believe many trucks are routinely fitted nowadays with some sort of tablet-sized screen in the dash area for loads/messaging/communications/dispatch. Maybe this has become a distraction.

  22. - Anonymous - Thursday, Mar 28, 19 @ 4:27 pm:

    If you can’t see the lights from a reasonable distance, you either need your eyes checked or you need to pay better attention to the road ahead. Even if you just see a car period, move the hell over. This was a 4 lane road on what appears to be a pretty visible area. No excuses here. None.

  23. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Mar 28, 19 @ 4:30 pm:

    So tragic.

    What RNUG said too. Get the police out there to try to crack down on this, especially with drivers who are using their smartphones when they should be paying attention to driving.

  24. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Thursday, Mar 28, 19 @ 4:30 pm:

    Alot of times the semis can’t get over because people are passing them in the left lane, no one slows down to let them switch lanes. But troopers always leave their lights going when they have someone pulled over, and I just don’t buy that they don’t see the squad cars if they’re actually paying attention. Unless the trooper steps out into the lanes, there’s no excuse for this to happen

  25. - A Jack - Thursday, Mar 28, 19 @ 4:30 pm:

    The last time I was pulled over, and its been a while, I continued driving slowly for about a half mile to a place that was well lighted and out of traffic. Perhaps we need some kind of rule that says if you are pulled over on the highway that you should proceed at a normal speed to the nearest off ramp before actually stopping. I realize that some troopers get really tense when someone doesn’t pull over immediately, but it would be much safer for all parties involved.

  26. - Fed Up - Thursday, Mar 28, 19 @ 4:31 pm:

    Slow Down. Change Lanes. Give Them Distance.

  27. - Kayak - Thursday, Mar 28, 19 @ 4:32 pm:

    I think it’s time to install green strobes on every law enforcement vehicle (similar to the white strobes on top of school busses) which can be activated on congested high speed roadways such as interstates and tollways. You couldn’t pay me enough to get out on the shoulder of a tollway. A green strobe would require traffic to be reduced to at least 45 mph maximum. Call it Scott’s Strobe and triple the penalties when the strobe is activated.

  28. - SOIL M - Thursday, Mar 28, 19 @ 4:33 pm:

    My thoughts and prayers go out to this Troopers family and friends, and to ISP as they suffer another senseless loss.
    Yes something has to be done. What the answer is I don’t know but have a few ideas. Revamp cdl training and take a look at recprosity across state lines. There are way too many drivers out there with only a couple weeks training and put out on the road. While working a wreck on 57 last summer I was talking to a couple older drivers about this. They called them wheel holder, and didn’t consider these under trained people as professional drivers. I think they had a point. There are few good professional drivers on the road anymore and too many under trained. If they get a license inother states with little to no training do we have to allow them to operate in illinois? Increase truck and driver inspections. You can be over 50 miles into this state before any inspection, and can drive around them.
    The other thing is to repeat what was said earlier. Put down the phones, and tablets.

  29. - Anon221 - Thursday, Mar 28, 19 @ 4:40 pm:

    It’s not just semi drivers. There is a lack of civility on most roads anymore. Why is the speed limit taken by most as just a “suggestion”??? On my usual daily commute of over a 100 miles roundtrip, most on interstate or 4 lane, I probably get passed by 50-70 vehicles- cars and trucks, and in good weather motorcycles. I’m at the limit, and they blow by me. How many more people have to die or be seriously injured to stop this bad behavior? I’m all for increasing the fines and penalties. And RNUG’s suggestions are great as well. Word will get around that a crackdown is on. We need to stop the beating “time” mentality, because it is literally killing people.

  30. - Captain Obvious - Thursday, Mar 28, 19 @ 4:56 pm:

    I spend a good bit of time on the interstate and the number of semi drivers my wife and I have spotted looking down at their phones for an extended period is frightening. You can see them in and out of their lane as you overtake them. Distracted driving is every bit as dangerous as drunk driving and the penalty should be just as severe. Harsh? I personally know the families of 2 people killed by texting drivers. How many people have to be killed before something is done?

  31. - XonXoff - Thursday, Mar 28, 19 @ 5:01 pm:

    I haven’t done the research but I wonder now if other states are experiencing as drastic of a surge as Illinois.

  32. - Plutocrat03 - Thursday, Mar 28, 19 @ 5:05 pm:

    Another tragedy.

    Since roadsides have gotten more dangerous, perhaps law enforcement can minimize the number of time the officers are exposed to danger on the side of the road. Simply conduct inspections and drivers checks and anything other than assisting a disabled vehicle on a side road or parking lot.

  33. - Anonymous - Thursday, Mar 28, 19 @ 5:08 pm:

    I think it’s a lot of things. I’m not saying this was the proximate cause in this situation, but he 70 mile an hour speed limit for trucks doesn’t help: the difference between 65 and 70 means a few extra, critical seconds of reaction and braking time - it adds up to about a football-field-length.

    Add to that, what’s already been stated, about newer, less-experienced drivers, and the pressures the trucking company puts on them to keep on schedule, on short rest.

    I think adding day-glo panels on the back of the trooper cars could be a quick improvement, but by the time you see that at 70 MPH it’s really too late to do anything about it. The better way to go might be to apply pressure on the truck companies to do more training and testing, and to give back some of the rest time that was clawed-back by regulatory changes.

  34. - Anon221 - Thursday, Mar 28, 19 @ 5:21 pm:

    Some ways to check data-

    2011 NHSTA Report:

    “The Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) is maintained by National Highway Traffic Safety
    Administration. The FARS is currently the only database that contains detailed information on the fatal crashes involving law enforcement officers. The characteristics of law enforcement officers’ fatalities in motor vehicle traffic crashes were investigated using the FARS data from 1980 to 2008. The characteristics were analyzed at the crash level for 772 crashes that involved at least one law enforcement officer’s fatality, at the vehicle level for 776
    police vehicles with law enforcement officers’ fatalities, and at the person level for 823 law enforcement officers killed in motor vehicle crashes.”

    The FARS site:

  35. - Anon221 - Thursday, Mar 28, 19 @ 5:26 pm:

    2018 Summary-

  36. - RNUG - Thursday, Mar 28, 19 @ 5:28 pm:

    15 wrecks in 13 weeks … and that is just ISP.

    At this rate we are looking at about 45 more this year

  37. - Soccermom - Thursday, Mar 28, 19 @ 5:43 pm:

    The issues of distracted driving are real, but I don’t think they took a sudden upturn in January. Something else is going on.

  38. - SSL - Thursday, Mar 28, 19 @ 5:47 pm:

    Put the phones away. You aren’t missing anything important.

  39. - repete - Thursday, Mar 28, 19 @ 6:53 pm:

    is it time to consider legislation forcing cell phone companies to turn off services to moving vehicles, no way to avoid same impact to passengers phones

  40. - PigPen - Thursday, Mar 28, 19 @ 9:25 pm:

    I drive an unmarked state squad car on 57/Ryan/294 everyday. Most would be appalled at what I see all day, everyday. It’s to the point where I need to call ISPERN and report the madness, or I’m part of the problem. Prayers to the Toooer and her family…. senseless.

  41. - Ginhouse Tommy - Thursday, Mar 28, 19 @ 11:37 pm:

    Supposedly the trooper had her lights flashing and was clearly visible when the semi hit her. Either the driver was distracted or so dazed from lack of sleep that he missed the flashing lights. Either way the semi driver goose is cooked.

  42. - Frank Ambrose - Thursday, Mar 28, 19 @ 11:46 pm:

    Unfortunately a strong sentance for the driver is far from a forgone conclusion. The State needs to prove intent for reckless driving or more serious criminal charges. Unfortuneately, for reckless conduct, the fact that the semi hit a fully marked squad with its emergency lights on, fails by itself to prove the requesite willful or wanton act. What needs to be reformed is the legal system without the input of any lawyers since they are an effected special interest group.

  43. - The Dude - Friday, Mar 29, 19 @ 6:39 am:

    Scotts law creates a larger hazard from people pulling into each other 500 feet from where trooper is. They lose control then hit troopers.

  44. - NoGifts - Friday, Mar 29, 19 @ 7:14 am:

    -the Dude- that is a plausible theory. Do you have a source for it? I’m sincerely interested in the subject of unintended consequences.

  45. - Paceman - Friday, Mar 29, 19 @ 7:24 am:

    ISP should start running distracted driver details. Put unmarked squads out there as spotters, when a violation is spotted call in a marked squad to make the stop. Also tweak the law so that if it can be determined the driver was on the phone or tablet when the crash occurs they can be charged criminally. Make it a felony if someone dies.

  46. - Anon221 - Friday, Mar 29, 19 @ 8:27 am:

    The Dude- Once you see a vehicle on the side of the road, law enforcement, emergency, or car/truck/semi, there is absolutely no need to wait until you are 500 feet away to then decide to shift lanes. That’s foolish and could cause crashes. Sometimes, especially in bad weather (snow/fog/rain), shifting lanes as early as possible helps to slow those behind you down and alert them to the issues lying ahead. Even engaging your hazard lights will “wake” some of the speeders up, and get them to move over and slow down. 500 feet may be the minimum, but it shouldn’t be used as an excuse.

  47. - Kevin Highland - Friday, Mar 29, 19 @ 8:35 am:

    On a recent 1200 mile round trip 6 out of 10 drivers were observed interacting with their cellphones.

  48. - Elad - Friday, Mar 29, 19 @ 8:37 am:

    —time to start getting extremely tough —

    Stop hyperventilating demoralized. I rarely see anyone not get over for a trooper, and if they don’t, it’s because traffic won’t let them in.

  49. - efudd - Friday, Mar 29, 19 @ 9:04 am:

    Technology has only fed the “me first” mentality of many. My time, my wants, my plans super cede all.
    This is why government often has to step in and over correct, creating the so called Nanny state.
    We do it to ourselves, nothing more than talking chimps.

  50. - Honeybear - Friday, Mar 29, 19 @ 9:17 am:

    Dude- I noticed the Semi thing as well. You would think professional drivers would know better and would be the most responsive.
    Which makes me wonder.
    Have quality/experienced drivers been replaced by cheaper younger inexperienced drivers?
    It’s happened in so many industries as a cost saving measure.
    Get rid BJ and the bear and hire a 19 year old.
    Not sure if this is a factor
    I just want to contribute a thought to try and help this.

  51. - RNUG - Friday, Mar 29, 19 @ 10:40 am:

    == is it time to consider legislation forcing cell phone companies to turn off services to moving vehicles, no way to avoid same impact to passengers phones ==

    Actually, there probably is a way to distinguish on newer cars. They seem to have a way of knowing almost exactly where the wireless key fob is located.

  52. - Stuntman Bob's Brother - Friday, Mar 29, 19 @ 11:56 am:

    Not excusing the driver of the semi that caused the wreck, but how about if, when roads are re-surfaced, create “accident investigation sites” maybe every mile or two, where the shoulder is widened to a safer width, to allow vehicles to pull completely off the roadway? Wouldn’t even have to be paved, just hard-packed road mix. The equipment is already on site.

    Obviously, terrain would play heavily into this, but as an example, it could have been easily done at this particular accident location.

  53. - Anon221 - Friday, Mar 29, 19 @ 12:03 pm:

    Overhead message sign-

  54. - Nonbeleiver - Friday, Mar 29, 19 @ 1:50 pm:

    A lot of bad drivers who don’t pay attention- totally distracted. Sleepy. Daydreaming. Substance abuse. On cell phone. The list is almost endless.

    And it kills many people who will not receive this type of attention.

    I wish I had a good answer to prevent this but in reality I don’t.

  55. - Bangor - Wednesday, Apr 3, 19 @ 9:35 pm:

    Wow This just happend in Hampden , Maine as well. Rest in Peace

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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