Funeral services set for state trooper killed in crash

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Funeral services have been set for the Illinois State Trooper killed in a car crash.

Visitation for James Sauter will be held Monday at the Hills Funeral Home at 10201 South Roberts Rd. in Palos Hills.  The funeral will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Morraine Valley Church, 6300 W. 127th St. in Palos Heights.

With heavy hearts, friends and coworkers of Sauter visited his wife Elizabeth late Friday afternoon at their Vernon Hills home– offering whatever emotional comfort they could.

The head of the 100 Club of Chicago presented trooper Sauter’s wife with a $15,000 check on Friday. In a few weeks she will receive another $35,000 from the organization– a bit of help for the young widow, whose husband paid the ultimate price for the job he’s wanted since childhood.


The 28-year-old was killed late Thursday night on Interstate 294 near Willow Road when a semi-truck hit him from behind. Both vehicles burst into flames and the young trooper died at the scene.

According to friends and family, James Sauter lived and breathed the life of law enforcement.  A childhood dream he turned into reality in 2008 when he was assigned to District 15. That year, fresh from the academy, he was awarded a medal for saving a motorists life.

Now– a five year veteran of the force, he had recently been reassigned to tollway patrol.

Trooper Sauter’s body was ceremoniously carried to the medical examiner’s office Friday morning, surrounded by fellow law enforcement.

“All of us at the Illinois State Police are devastated we lost a wonderful person a wonderful human being and certainly a wonderful police officer.”

What caused the crash and why trooper Sauter was stopped on the southbound shoulder of the interstate is still being investigated.

It is unclear if the trooper’s lights were on or if the driver of the semi was breaking any laws.

The driver of the semi – a United Van Lines truck – suffered some burns but will be okay.

Police are questioning him and several witnesses as they try to piece this puzzle together.

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  • Ismael

    I am sorry for the loss of this trooper. I have posted comments about the abuses of the truckers in the tollway and no one is doing anything about it maybe now The state police will crack down. They use any lane They please while driving at a steady 70 mph.In my previous comments I said when another family of seven is killed then the police will do something. Well it took one trooper legally parked to maybe stir the troopers into action. I blame the politicians who take money from the truckers lobby and then tie up the troopers hands into looking the other way. Truckers have tried four times to take me out of my lane but They will have to go over car to get my lane.

    • Terry

      yea trucks are the only ones on the road that drive crazy?? What about the cars doing 100 and cutting trucks off?? Grow up. Everything you have came by truck!!!!

      • baal627

        the truckers nowadays drive like crap, my 84 year old mother drives better, but there are still some professionals on the road. I dont drive on I-80 anymore because I could of been killed with my entire family, but I have a sixth sense about these things and braked quickly falling behind a truck just in time as he was going into half of my lane quickly and I would have been crushed between him and the wall on the right. I take Route 30 going into Indiana. You are too sensitive to criticism and have serious issues pertaining to cars. Yeah and if you haul corn that came from a farmer. We are all important in this wheel ,except the politicians who in majority are run by the Rothschild One World Order. By the way , for you Nazis out there , Hitler was a Rothschild, and his agent in starting world war two. Of course truckers are important, we all are. You seem to place too much importance on yourself. This car vs. truck mentality i s for immature individuals. Yeah car drivers suck too, but look at your own group; its not the same one as yesteryear. I bet any money with your attitude your not one of them. Too bad you had too go on a tangent, taking away from the tragedy of the state trooper. They are too close to the road when they pull over, plus assholes looking at the cops shining lights on the side of the road automatically turn the wheel in the direction they are going. Maybe the governor was jailed for something after all. Much of this stems from lack of driver education; many foreigners coming into the country without adequate driving skills; now they want to give them licenses and to vote for the one world government appointees. Citizens take a back seat in this country and are being screwed. Oh yeah and trucks going 80 -90 dont cut cars off. Now for the motorcyclists' b.s.- yeah see the motorcycle Jane, and Dick you see the car once in a while or dont you? My response to all this is that I have nothing better to do. Lets all say the prayer for the State Trooper, before they outlaw that in this country.

      • Anonymous

        Everything might come by truck. That is not the issue. I drove the interstates and tollways for quite awhile. There are plain stupid drivers whether they are in a car or truck. I always figured since truckers drove more, they would be better drivers. How wrong I was! They seem to forget he amount of weight they are carrying and the damage in can do.

      • Terry

        Yes I agree. there are some retarded truck drivers out there. But not all. Everytime there is a crash everyone wants to bash all drivers. With over a million miles of safe driving I know there are very good truckers as well as very poor ones. But its not just the trucks who need to remember how much we weigh. Cars do as well!!!! Everyone just needs to slow down and SHARE the roads with each other.

      • Nef

        There are very few people that obey the speed limit in the Chicago area. I my self drive a semi in the city and there are countless of stupid drivers and many that are involved in car to car acciendents. And all of you people that think you can out run or cut a truck off, you are dead wrong. We carry 80,000 around the city and having stupid drivers like all of you does not make out job easier. And if you all think state troopers are easy on us you obviously do not know anything we go through. Do a bit of reaserch before you talk crap about us the truck drivers. The last catastrophic accident involving a semi in Illinois was over 20 years ago. Do your job as a car driver and we would do ours as a truck driver.

  • Holdfast2Liberty

    My condolences to the family of this I.S.P. R.I.P.

    I’ve driven on this tollway for more than twenty years and I wanted to also state that I agree with the previous comment stating that these truckers drive a steady 70mph and (not all) will cut me off when trying to change lanes.

      • Ismael

        Terry these morons who drive at 100 mph are in the left lane. Do like I do stay on the right lanes and let the cops catch them. You and I are not cops. If I see one of these morons have an accident I will keep going like nothing happened. They created the problem They solve it. I get cut off all the time by trucks and cars, I just have to remember that these are dumb drivers. Keep calm, keep your cool and mind your own business and You will get home safely.

  • Joseph Alanzo

    Rip ILL. State Police OFF. James Saute you will be miss by your LOVING Famly and Frend's YOU are A good Father and a GOOD LOVING HUSBAND,and a a ILL. State Police Officer YOU made many FRENDS and MOST of SERVICE to the PEOPLE of ILL.and to the U.S.AMERAINC for YOU are a PEACE Officer and MAN of a goleded HEART to all of us now you are in the HOUSE of OUR LORD GOD looking Down that you KNOW and LOVE SIR.There is a old saying we in the MILITARY WE say to To someone we KNOW IS YOU will not BE FORGOTEN OFFICER Saute by the ONE'S KNOW and LOVE you SIR.RIP RIP in the HOUSE of our LODER GOD.

  • Steve Crowell

    Trooper Sauter joins Trooper Ambrose, Trooper Agner, Trooper
    Le, and numerous other Officers and Troopers who were rear-ended, while the fuel tank gets
    compromised, and fire ensued, none of these officers got out in time. I am
    convinced these are preventable deaths. Most (by my estimate 75%) remain
    conscious and get out or get dragged out of the car – unconscious. Trooper
    Engelhardt, Officer Schechterle, Trooper Russell etc…
    Some (25% by my estimate) do not maintain consciousness and
    remain in the car as it becomes engulfed in flames and perish. I strongly
    suspect that the "cage" or partition is the reason. It is extremely
    rigid and positioned directly behind the operators' head. When the collision
    occurs the partition slams the back of the head – of any front seat occupant
    rendering them unconscious. What other reason would anybody remain in a burning
    It is unforgivable that those government agency officials
    who have been in a position to correct this problem have swept it under the rug
    for 40+ years.
    None of the partitions in use, comply with minimum federal
    motor vehicle safety standards, nor are any certified to comply, as required by
    federal law.
    Sadly, I am afraid part of the reason is that some wayward
    LEO's have used the partition to deliberately injure prisoners by slamming on
    the brakes to thrust the prisoner , face first, into the steel grid of the
    partition. This is a practice called "waffling" or "noodling" the prisoner. Some call
    it "going to Hollywood" or the "screen test". Some officers
    even boast about it, like Tim Ray of Monee, Illinois. It is a cowardly, vicious
    felony, easily characterized as institutionalized, nationwide, sanctioned
    police brutality.
    see my blog at for USDOT
    letters of warning.
    I admire and respect the good work that is done by most
    honorable officers.
    I drive a cab and I am 5-10 times more likely to be murdered
    'on the job' than police officers. So don't tell ME about risk. Partitions in
    cabs exacerbate our murder rates by protecting gun wielding assailants from any
    of the drivers' possible efforts to defend himself. With a partition, we are
    shot like a fish in a barrel. Partitions in cabs… are todays' Maginot Line.

  • padschicago

    Reblogged this on @padschicago's blog and commented:
    A very sad post. Any story of death is sad but when it involves the death of someone who tries his (/her) best to protect and help communities, perhaps it is felt a bit closer to the heart. These everyday heroes deserve the same respect and honor as our own family. They will and do anything for us. I pray for their safety, the health of those they serve, and I curse the #$%&ing idiots who don’t slow, pull to the side and stop for emergency vehicles. Another sad loss of one of our emergency and safety heroes. My condolences hugs and prayers go out to this man and his family.

  • Happy

    Does your site have a contact page? I’m having problems locating it but, I’d like to send you an e-mail. I’ve got some suggestions for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great site and I look forward to seeing it improve over time.

  • Andrea Velasquez

    This is a very tragic and unexpected death. His passing will not leave a void in our lives, but in the heart of everyone who knew him. My prayers are with him and to his family. May his soul rest in peace.