CHICAGO, Ill. – We’ve just learned that a police officer from Chicago has died after sustaining injuries from a vehicle crash on Sunday.
Authorities confirmed that Cook County officer Ronald Prohaska was off-duty when he stopped to help a motorist whose vehicle was experiencing engine trouble and had stalled on the side of the road. True to the ‘service above self’ mentality of a police officer, Prohaska began doing what he could to get the vehicle running.
NBC 5 Chicago reported that the crash occurred shortly after he pulled off to the side, just before 4 p.m. on the Illinois River Bridge.
As Prohaska worked under the hood on the engine, a driver that was going too fast slammed into the back of officer’s vehicle, forcing that vehicle into the car that the officer was working on.
Police say that the stalled vehicle burst into flames and continued to burn as the fire spread to the other vehicles.
Officer Prohaska was quickly airlifted to Good Samaritan Hospital, but attempted life-saving measures were unsuccessful. Prohaska was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Police say that multiple other motorists were injured in the wreck and were transported to Morris Hospital. They confirmed that 7-year-old child was among those hospitalized, but other patients have since been treated and released.
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Authorities identified the driver of the third vehicle as Matthew Taylor. He was cited for failure to reduce speed. Police said there may be additional charges and Taylor is expected back in court on Sept. 20.
According to the Grundy County Sheriff’s Office, traffic in both directions on Illinois Route 47 was prevented from going over the bridge after the crash. The bridge remained closed for several hours while emergency crews worked to clear the damage and tend to injured motorists.
8/18/19 MORRIS – Off-Duty Cook County Sheriff’s Officer Ronald Prohaska, 50, Killed While Assisting Stranded Motorist on Rt. 47 Illinois River Bridge – Report by WCSJ News https://t.co/Ec25ZXMOPghttps://t.co/Ec25ZXMOPg
— RADIOMAN911 (@Radioman911) August 19, 2019
Officers expressed their condolences and asked for prayers for the grieving family.
“Our hearts are broken and our deepest condolences to his family and friends,” the Cook County Sheriff’s office said in a statement.
Officer Ronald Prohaska was 50-years-old.
“Officer Prohaska started at the Sheriff’s Office as a correctional officer in 1994 and joined Sheriff’s Police in August of 2004. He most recently served in the fugitive warrants unit,” Cook County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
Rest in peace, brother. We’ve got it from here.