ISP Trooper Killed

This evening (January 12, 2019) an Illinois trooper working a three-car accident on I-294 near Oakbrook was struck and killed by another vehicle.

For those not familiar with the Chicago area I-294 goes from Wisconsin north of the city around the west side and south finally going to Indiana. It’s a great way to get around the traffic in the city. The only problem is everyone knows that, and the congestion can be as bad as anywhere in the USA. Toss in a snowstorm and it becomes even more deadly than normal.

Saturday evening everyone wants to be somewhere else. I’m sure the trooper would have rather been sitting in his warm squad sipping a cup of coffee and finishing up his paperwork. Instead, he was out in the elements trying to help others.

He certainly wasn’t doing it for the money. I doubt it was the sharp looking uniforms. Though the ISP always looks pretty squared away with those campaign hats. What it comes down to on days like today is the trooper was out there because it was his duty. Trooper Christopher Lambert #6527 was out there in a snowstorm handling a traffic accident because it was his duty.

Christopher Lambert

(LET Graphics)

Duty is a strong word that takes on many definitions. In this case, it’s an honorable calling, compelling a person to do, what others would prefer never to do. No one in their right mind wants to stand on a busy highway with cars flying by inches away during a snowstorm. A slip on his behalf or a skid of a vehicle and it becomes a tragic day.

Tonight, a family is trying to make sense of a senseless accident. Of course, his immediate family is hurt and so are his fellow ISP troopers. Their families’ wonder if their husband or wife or kid could be the next one struck down. The members of the Chicago PD mourn the loss of a state trooper. We’ve come to know them over the years. They have come to our aid when we call for help and we have responded to their calls.

All police families suffer a little more than usual tonight. We’ve become hardened to the thought of losing an officer or trooper to a shooting. This last couple years attacks on law enforcement officers fill the Internet daily. We forget there are more mundane events where our officers routinely risk their lives. This forces officers and families to realize the full extent of dangers that come with the job.

Some years back a friend of my son was pursuing a criminal justice education and he needed to interview a police officer for a paper. His mother asked to sit in on the interview since she too had some fears and questions. The mother asked me if I was afraid of being shot in the line of duty. I told her no. I had accepted that it could happen but probably wouldn’t. I pointed out to her that doesn’t mean that her son wouldn’t get injured in the line of duty.

Most officers, including myself, get injured at some time in their career. I was nearly killed in a rollover car crash. I had a sergeant fall through a rotten staircase in an abandoned building. Others have fallen off porches, and raced downstairs to answer shouts for help only to slip and fall shattering an ankle that will never heal well. Then there are injuries from bad guys who resist. Punches to the face hits to the head, and stab wounds.

You sit down with a couple old coppers and eventually the stories get around to bad knees, torn rotator cuffs, and compressed vertebrae. All injuries on duty. Fortunately, we are here to moan about them then there are accidents like today.

Tonight, I shed a tear and say a prayer for officers everywhere. I pray they are protected from the bad guy with the gun and the distracted driver and the weak staircase. I’m proud of my time as a Chicago police officer and I’m proud of the Illinois State Police.

Take a moment and remember ISP Trooper Christopher Lambert #6527.

Stay safe my brothers and sisters. Run Low and zigzag.

– Robert Weisskopf (ret. Lt.)

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