An Illinois State trooper is dead after a crash with a semi-truck.
The trooper has been identified as James Sauter.
Authorities say he was killed when a semi-truck hit his cruiser. Sauter was stopped on the shoulder of southbound Interstate 294 when the semi struck him from behind, Illinois State Police Director Hiram Grau said.
It was not clear whether Sauter’s emergency lights were on or why he was stopped. The southbound lanes were closed after the crash for several hours. Witnesses say that at one point the semi-truck was on fire.
“Our accident reconstruction team is working,” Grau said. “It was a pretty horrific accident. We don’t have all the details yet.”
The driver of the semi was being questioned by police.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Sauter is the second Illinois state trooper killed in the last five months. Trooper Kyle Deatherage, 32, was struck and killed by a semi during a traffic stop the end of November along northbound Interstate 55 near Litchfield.
“Unfortunately, this is the second line of duty death within the last five months for the Illinois state police,” Grau said. “Trooper Sauter represented everything good about this department.”