TROY, Ill. (AP)- Hundreds of law enforcement officers and other mourners paid tribute Saturday to an Illinois trooper who was struck and killed by a passing tractor-trailer during a traffic stop this week.
Kyle Deatherage, of St. Jacob in southwestern Illinois, was honored at a funeral service in a high school gymnasium decorated with dozens of floral arrangements and photo boards.
Paying tribute to the trooper, the Rev. Larry Chute said, “Thank you doesn’t cut it.”
Deatherage, 32, was killed Monday morning on Interstate 55 near Litchfield. He had been a member of the Illinois State Police since May 2009, and leaves behind a wife and two young children, the Belleville News-Democrat reported (http://bit.ly/11h3uil ).
His family released a statement thanking the community for their support and urging people to watch for emergency safety workers when driving.
“Our lives will be forever changed as we remember the great husband, father, brother, son, and friend that Kyle was,” the family said. “However we would like everyone to recognize the vital and dangerous role that officers play in keeping us safe. We ask that as we use our roadways, please practice safe driving and be aware of our emergency safety workers.”
His older brother, Kenneth, drew laughter at the funeral as he shared memories. He recalled an unusual fascination Deatherage had since childhood with the bright, flashing construction lights his father collected and brought home from his work on the railroad. The young Deatherage decorated his room with them and let them flash all night.
Kenneth Deatherage also told about a Halloween night when his brother was a Madison County deputy. Kyle Deatherage parked at the end of his brother’s driveway in his squad car and flashed the lights and sirens at teenagers who were going to cover his brother’s trees with toilet paper.
“It was awesome!” Kenneth Deatherage said. “Sorry, Sheriff!”
Information from: Belleville News-Democrat, http://www.bnd.com
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