Green Oaks, IL – The Illinois state trooper killed by a wrong-way driver on Saturday sacrificed himself to save the lives of other motorists on the road, according to survivors.
The incident occurred at approximately 3:25 a.m., as 36-year-old Illinois State Police Trooper Gerald Ellis was traveling home from work on Interstate 94, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The married father-of-two was just getting ready to wrap up his night shift, when he encountered a wrong-way driver near mile marker 16.77 in Green Oaks, according to WBBM.
Trooper Ellis and the oncoming driver collided head-on, killing them both, the Lake and McHenry County Scanner reported.
But according to one thankful father, there was even more selflessness and heroism in Trooper Ellis’ line-of-duty death than many people realize.
“This man sacrificed his life for my daughter’s last night,” Daniel Lambeau wrote in a Facebook post.
“Brooke was on her way home from DC when this wrong way driver came at them,” Lambeau wrote. “They were directly behind the trooper and saw the whole crash. The trooper swerved into the wrong way driver’s car to keep him from killing the people behind him, including Brooke.”
Although he is thankful for his daughter’s safety, he is also facing the “terrible sadness” of Trooper Ellis’ sacrifice, he said.
“Thank you Trooper Ellis for allowing my little girl and her friends to come home,” Lambeau wrote. “A brother in blue I never met, you will always be in our thoughts. You are a true hero!!”
Another social media user said that her daughter was traveling on Interstate 94 with a family she babysits for when the devastating collision occurred.
“Trooper Gerald Ellis you are my HERO,” Carrie Kay said, according to the Lake and McHenry County Scanner. “This officer paid the ultimate sacrifice early this morning and saved my daughter’s life.”
“From what we were told Trooper Ellis was directly ahead of them two lanes over and moved his squad car into their lane to block a wrong way driver on interstate I-94 in Illinois from hitting the car she was in,” Kay explained.
“Thank you God and Officer Ellis for letting her and the others in that car come back home to us,” she wrote. “We are so ever grateful to you.”
Trooper Ellis’ death comes less than two days after Trooper Brooke Jones-Story was killed by a semi-truck.
Thursday, at about 12:20 p.m., Trooper Jones-Story was inspecting a commercial vehicle on U.S. Route 20, just west of Illinois route 75.
“Trooper Jones-Story was outside her squad car when she was struck and fatally wounded when a truck tractor semi-trailer combination struck her squad car and the semi Trooper Jones-Story was inspecting,” Illinois State Police (ISP) said.
ISP Acting Director Brendan Kelly confirmed Trooper Ellis’ death on Saturday, according to the Lake and McHenry County Scanner.
“While the men and women of the Illinois State Police are still grieving our recent loss, it is with profound heartache and unfathomable sadness that we inform you of the death of another fallen trooper, Trooper Gerald Ellis,” Director Kelly said.
“By doing what he did today, he saved lives,” he explained, according to WBBM.
“Trooper Ellis laid down his life while protecting the citizens of this state. We are asking the public to respectfully give consideration to the family of Trooper Ellis and the ISP while we continue to process and work through this tragedy,” the director said, according to the Lake and McHenry County Scanner.