Illinois State Police honor fallen troopers

As much as we dislike seeing those flashing lights behind us, it is the men and woman in those state patrol cars that help keep us safe on Illinois roads.

Trooper Christopher Kozel, Illinois State police, “Does anything really surprise you anymore? It doesn’t so much after being on the job for 8 years.”

Besides speeding and drunk driving, Trooper Christopher Kozel is also dealing with sleep deprived and distracted drivers. Especially when it comes to commercial drivers.

“We see many drivers including CMV driver’s texting on the phone using ipads you name it, it’s still going on.”

Today he and troopers state wide have stepped up their enforcement of distracted drivers, they are checking log books to make sure commercial drivers are alert and have their medical cards. As well as other paper work in order.

They are doing it in honor of trooper Jim Sahter who was killed a year ago today after troopers say a truck driver fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into his squad car.

Major Jim Perez, Illinois State Police says, “Today is a hard reminder for a lot of us. Jim worked for me at the time of his death but it is also a way for us to honor Jim. He was a dedicated officer.”

Earlier this year, a toll way worker was killed and State Trooper Douglas Balder was severely injured after police say a truck driver working a 36 hour shift on just 4 hours sleep crashed into them.

Distracted driving is a huge problem at interstate speeds.

Yesterday outside a Naperville training facility, the state police dedicated a memorial, to the three district 15 officers who died in the line of duty over the years. Sahter’s wife Liz helped design it.

“I wish we wouldn’t have had to put it up I pray we don’t have to add any names to it.”

“It means a lot to me, Jim was a friend of mine we want to prevent any future accidents or deaths especially to our troopers.”

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