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Man arrested in death of ISP Trooper Brooke Jones-Story

Friday, Apr 12, 2019

* ISP…

Illinois State Police (ISP) officials announce the arrest of Craig W. Dittmar (M/55) for his involvement in the March 28th, 2019, fatal crash which resulted in the death of Trooper Brooke Jones-Story.

On March 28th, 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. The semi-trailer combination that struck and killed Trooper Jones-Story was being driven by Craig W. Dittmar of Stockton, Illinois.

On April 11th, 2019, the Stephenson County State’s Attorney’s Office approved charging Dittmar with two counts of Reckless Homicide (both Class 2 Felonies), and one count of Operating A Commercial Motor Vehicle While Fatigued - Causing Death (Class 3 Felony). An arrest warrant was issued for Dittmar and the bond for the warrant was set by the judge at $250,000 (10% applies). Dittmar was later taken into custody and lodged in the Stephenson County Jail where he is being held in lieu of that bond.

The ISP would like to remind the public of Scott’s Law, which requires vehicles to slow down, move over, and change lanes if possible, when they are approaching an emergency vehicle, or any vehicle with its hazard lights activated. The ISP urges the public to help save lives by making responsible driving choices and following the law.

* Sun-Times

Sixteen state troopers have been hit by vehicles, three of them fatally, since Jan. 1 of this year and continues an unexplained spike in crashes. State police said the crashes were related to violations of Scott’s Law.

Trooper Gerald Ellis was killed on March 30 when a wrong-way driver crashed into his squad car in north suburban Green Oaks. The wrong-way driver, identified as Dan Davies, was also killed in the crash.

On Jan. 12, Trooper Christopher Lambert was struck and killed on I-294 when he stopped to help at a three-car crash in the north suburbs of Chicago. Scott Larsen, 61, of Wisconsin, was charged with a count of reckless homicide of an officer and two counts of reckless homicide involving Scott’s Law.

About 500 violations of Scott’s Law have been logged this year, compared to nearly 200 during the same time period last year, according to state police. The law is named after Chicago Fire Department Lt. Scott Gillen, who was killed on an expressway in 2000.

* Related…

* Sangamon County adopts zero tolerance police for “Scott’s Law” violations: The Sangamon County State’s Attorney’s Office said there will no longer be supervision offered for Move Over Law violations.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

20 Comments »
  1. - Perrid - Friday, Apr 12, 19 @ 9:29 am:

    This is incredibly not the point, but she was inspecting one semi from 11:24 to 12:20? Did the ISP get that right? What exactly do they do on an inspection that takes more than an hour?


  2. - Anon - Friday, Apr 12, 19 @ 9:30 am:

    I’ve noticed that some LEOs will intentionally park their vehicle closer to the left side of the shoulder. The intention of this seems to be to allow for their vehicle to act as a shield while they’re outside of their cars. Especially if they decide to approach the driver’s side of the vehicle.

    I wonder if this is a factor in some of these accidents? Instead of adding additional protection, their vehicle may become an additional hazard by being parked in a fashion that is more likely to be hit, and then due to the physics involved, that vehicle becomes a projectile rather than shielding the officer.

    Each loss is a tragedy but I do hope that all factors can be considered in these accidents so that we can create effective policies to keep our public servants safe.

    Or we can perhaps transition to utilizing speed cameras, drones, etc, to reduce the amount of hazards that they’re exposed to and create a more uniform enforcement of the law.


  3. - Robert the Bruce - Friday, Apr 12, 19 @ 9:38 am:

    I’m skeptical that better enforcement of Scott’s Law makes much of a difference.

    In order to hit a car on the shoulder, one must be paying very little attention to the road….not enough to even consider moving to the left lane.

    Stricter enforcement of people using cell phones while driving may be a better answer.


  4. - wordslinger - Friday, Apr 12, 19 @ 9:47 am:

    –Operating A Commercial Motor Vehicle While Fatigued - Causing Death (Class 3 Felony). –

    Going west on 20, appears Ditmar was headed home to Stockton. Almost made it.


  5. - Merica - Friday, Apr 12, 19 @ 9:47 am:

    How do any of the three tragic deaths relate to Scott’s Law?

    1. Brooke Jones-Storey was killed at night by a tired truck driver whose truck left the road.

    2. Gerald Ellis was killed at night when a drunk driver drove the wrong way down I-94 at high speed.

    3. Christopher Lambert was killed at night when a driver left the road (left lane) at high speed while testing positive for THC.

    The point is better enforcement of Scott’s Law wouldn’t have prevented these deaths. And yes, it’s a good common sense law.

    Let’s talk about tired truck drivers and the hundreds of people they kill in Illinois each year, and the hundreds of people killed by DUI’s. Just last year a tired truck driver fell asleep on 55 near Springfield, didn’t see that traffic had stopped in front of him, he slammed into 3 cars, killed and maimed two separate families with 7 young children, including two babies.


  6. - Rte 40 - Friday, Apr 12, 19 @ 9:47 am:

    A preventable collision is one in which the driver fails to do everything reasonable to avoid it. Impaired, distracted and fatigued driving are all preventable. Source material - National Safety Council DDC 4 course

    Move over for emergency vehicles. It is the law and the right thing to do as a courteous and defensive driver in our roadway community. Again, DDC 4 course (6th Edition)


  7. - JS Mill - Friday, Apr 12, 19 @ 9:48 am:

    =Stricter enforcement of people using cell phones while driving may be a better answer.=

    Yes, but we need more troopers to help that cause.


  8. - Grandpa2 - Friday, Apr 12, 19 @ 10:16 am:

    Merica–I agree with most of your comment, but should correct your statement about the Brooke Jones-Storey crash. She was struck around noon.


  9. - L.A. - Friday, Apr 12, 19 @ 10:22 am:

    - Stricter enforcement of people using cell phones while driving may be a better answer.-

    We need harsher penalties for using your cell phone in any manner while operating a motor vehicle. And we need law enforcement to actually enforce the law. It drives me absolutely bananas (short trip) when I see people holding their cell phone for any reason while driving. And I see it several times a day. If my phone rings or buzzes while I’m driving, I ignore it. Pretty simple.


  10. - Anon - Friday, Apr 12, 19 @ 10:27 am:

    ===How do any of the three tragic deaths relate to Scott’s Law?===

    I don’t think that’s the point. Prosecutors and legislators here in Illinois pride themselves on big talk and looking like they’ve solved problems when they haven’t.

    Executions in this state weren’t halted because we suddenly learned better, they were halted because we had a habit of convicting innocent people for murder rather than attempting to actually solve the crimes and maybe not succeeding.


  11. - illini - Friday, Apr 12, 19 @ 10:35 am:

    Enforcement is one thing but prosecution, after the fact, is maybe equally important. A strict “zero tolerance” policy must be employed state wide.


  12. - Han's Solo Cup - Friday, Apr 12, 19 @ 10:42 am:

    Perrid-
    This is incredibly not the point, but she was inspecting one semi from 11:24 to 12:20? Did the ISP get that right? What exactly do they do on an inspection that takes more than an hour?

    Trooper JOnes-Story was a commercial vehicle enforcement officer doing a level 1 inspection. This includes checking the truck’s air and hydraulic system and actually getting under the truck to measure the braking efficiency of all the wheels. It generally takes around an hour.


  13. - Anotheretiree - Friday, Apr 12, 19 @ 11:20 am:

    I always move over for any vehicle but I didn’t know until reading this, that it includes ANY vehicle with lights flashing. RTE40 above repeated what I have always heard in news reports and discussion ==Move over for emergency vehicles== Now I know !


  14. - Anon - Friday, Apr 12, 19 @ 11:24 am:

    ===A strict “zero tolerance” policy must be employed state wide.===

    What, it’s 1993 up in here?

    When has zero tolerance ever been an effective tool?


  15. - NoGifts - Friday, Apr 12, 19 @ 11:35 am:

    It’s pretty flat at that location but there is curve on US20 west of IL75. And “Merica, that was the middle of the day, around noon, not at night.


  16. - Anon221 - Friday, Apr 12, 19 @ 12:38 pm:

    Speed is also usually one of the contributing factors in these incidents. Reaction time and speeding plus any other distractions the driver may be using or experiencing, all increase the overall risk factor. 80-90 MPH on the interstate seems to be more of a factor than talking on a cell phone, in my many miles of experience. Either leave earlier to get there on time, or obey the speed limit. Too many times, I am lawfully passing another slower vehicle at the posted limit, and someone (or more) who are 10-20 miles over the limit, zoom up behind me and have to brake. But I’m the “bad guy” as most of them tend to feel???

    NHSTA pdf on speeding and reaction time.

    https://tinyurl.com/y2366y2t


  17. - The Dude - Friday, Apr 12, 19 @ 12:55 pm:

    Scotts law almost caused a crash for me. A truck pulled in front of cars because of a trooper. Could have resulted in trooper death if someone would have lost control.


  18. - Rich Miller - Friday, Apr 12, 19 @ 12:56 pm:

    ===Scotts law almost caused a crash===

    No, an irresponsible and reckless driver did that.


  19. - DuPage - Friday, Apr 12, 19 @ 1:46 pm:

    The problem of fatigued truck drivers was made worse by a federal regulation that was supposed to make it better. Previously, if a driver felt tired, he or she could stop and rest a couple hours or more and have it count as “off duty”. After their rest, they could continue their “on duty” work hours to their limit allowed per day. The new regulation counts any stop to rest shorter then 8 hours to be “on duty” and ends up causing them to not be able to complete their work in their allowable “on duty” time. This regulation ends up forcing drivers to try to sleep when they are not tired, and to drive when they are tired. If a driver feels tired, he or she should be allowed to stop to rest and be protected from being fired or disciplined for the truck arriving later the planned. Driver’s are pressured by companies promising fast shipping, and it adds to the problem.


  20. - Soccermom - Friday, Apr 12, 19 @ 4:12 pm:

    I think these sorts of things are up significantly nationwide. I’m not sure what’s going on.


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