Hometown, IL – Hometown Police Department (HPD) Lieutenant James Kouski was killed in the line of duty early Saturday morning after a suspected drunk driver ran into him while he was out directing traffic.
The incident occurred near the intersection of Pulaski Road and 90th Place at approximately 3 a.m. on April 3, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Another driver crashed into a utility pole earlier in the night, so 58-year-old Lt. Kouski was out directing traffic around the obstacle, according to the Cook County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO).
Shortly after 3 a.m., 23-year-old Otis Pruitt came through the intersection in a Nissan Altima and crashed into the lieutenant, the CCSO said.
Lt. Kouski was rushed to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he passed away at 4:38 a.m., the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Pruitt tried to flee the scene, but was quickly arrested nearby and transported to a local hospital, according to police.
Investigators said his blood-alcohol content exceeded the legal limit of 0.08.
Pruitt has been charged with felony DUI, reckless homicide, and failure to yield to an emergency vehicle, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
CCSO and the Illinois State Police are handing the ongoing investigation into the fatal crash.
HPD Chief Louis Dominguez said Lt. Kouski served the department for 34 years, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
“He always wanted to do things right,” Chief Dominguez told WGN. “It’s a very, very close-knit community…so you figure 34 years in a community this small, he had a lot of exposure and he did get to know a lot of people.”
Law enforcement officers and community members lined the street to honor the fallen lieutenant during a memorial procession Saturday afternoon, the Oak Lawn Patch reported.
“We wanted to give him a great send-off for his final pass through Hometown,” Hometown Mayor Kevin Casey told the Oak Lawn Patch.
Hometown PD is mourning the death of a veteran officer after a driver hit him during a crash investigation.
— Steven Graves (@StevenGravesTV) April 4, 2021
We are deeply saddened to report the loss of Officer James Kouski of the Hometown Police Dept, IL. Officer Kouski served with the Hometown Police Dept for 34 years. Our thoughts & prayers are with the family & friends of this fallen hero. May he rest in peace. #LODD#Officerdown pic.twitter.com/387V1LfoUu
— RosemontPublicSafety (@RSMTpolicefire) April 5, 2021
— R Cook (@retiredNCSHP) April 4, 2021
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Hometown Police Department (HPD) Lieutenant James Kouski, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.