Alpha, IL – Knox County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) Deputy Nicholas Weist was killed in the line of duty on April 29 when he was hit by a fleeing suspect while deploying spike strips.
The incident began just after 8 a.m. on April 29, when Galesburg Police Department officers were dispatched to a report of an armed suspect at a Circle K gas station on Main Street, The Register-Mail reported.
Two officers spotted the suspect’s vehicle and attempted to stop the driver, 22-year-old Daylon Richardson, but he refused to pull over and sped off northbound on Henderson Street, triggering a pursuit, according to police.
Witnesses reported seeing the suspect vehicle race through the intersection of Henderson and Fremont Street with several Galesburg police vehicles in pursuit, The Register-Mail reported.
The chase continued out of Galesburg via US-150.
Deputy Weist was deploying spike strips at the intersection of US-150 and 150 Avenue when Richardson crashed into him, WQAD reported.
The suspect’s vehicle came to rest in a field just north of the intersection, according to police.
Galesburg Police Chief Russ Idle confirmed the 34-year-old deputy died as a result of his injuries, The Register-Mail reported.
The Illinois State Police (ISP) said Richardson was arrested on charges of murder, aggravated fleeing, unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon, and eluding, according to WQAD.
ISP Zone 2 Commander Captain Christopher Endress said Richardson had multiple warrants out for his arrest at the time of the deadly pursuit, The Register-Mail reported.
Deputy Weist graduated from Western Illinois University with a degree in law enforcement and justice administration in 2009, according to his obituary.
He was an intern at the Rock Island Police Department (RIPD) before later working as a security guard at Trinity Hospital.
Deputy Weist was hired by the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department as a 911 dispatcher in 2012 and later took a position as a correctional officer at the same department.
He graduated from the Illinois Police Training Institute in September of 2015 and was hired by the Aledo Police Department as a sworn police officer, according to his obituary.
Deputy Weist simultaneously volunteered with the Viola Fire Department and spearheaded the Aledo High School’s police explorer’s program.
He joined the KCSO as a road deputy on May 22, 2018.
In addition to his patrol duties, Deputy Weist also headed up college recruiting for the sheriff’s office, served as the union president, and trained fellow deputies in Taser handling, according to his obituary.
“His dedication to the sheriff’s department was unrelenting,” KCSO Deputy Shawn Keith said, according to the tribute. “He was respectful to all people, selfless, and always took care of others before himself.”
KCSO Captain Brian Brady said Deputy Weist was aways looking for innovative ways to improve the department.
“He was a good husband and father above being an amazing cop,” Capt. Brady added. “He never approached me with a problem without offering a solution.”
Deputy Weist leaves behind his wife, Jessica, and his children, 12-year-old Ava and nine-year-old Emery, according to his obituary.
He is also survived by his parents, sister, grandparents, step-siblings, and in-laws.
“Simple words cannot express the profound grief we feel at the loss of our friend, colleague and law enforcement brother Nick Weist,” Illinois Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) State Lodge President Chris Southwood said, according to The Register-Mail. “Nick died performing a job he loved, protecting the citizens of Knox County, and his heroic sacrifice will always be remembered.”
Illinois FOP Labor Council Executive Director Shawn Roselieb said Deputy Weist was “a dedicated public servant.”
“His loss touches everyone, and he will be deeply and sorely missed,” Roselieb told The Register-Mail.
“Every law enforcement officer knows the worst can happen every time they go to work, but heroes like Nick still put on a badge every day to serve and protect their fellow citizens,” he added.
Deputy Weist will be laid to rest on May 7.
RIP. Illinois Deputy Sheriff Nicholas D. Weist was murdered when he was struck by a vehicle while deploying stop sticks to end a pursuit. #rip #hero #endofwatch #DeputySheriffNicholasDWeist #KnoxCountySheriffsDepartment #lawenforcement #thinblueline #bluelivesmatter #BackTheBlue pic.twitter.com/ievUM1LmUv
— Protecting the Blue (@protectingblue) May 1, 2022
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and colleagues of @knoxcosheriffil Deputy Sheriff Nicholas D. Weist who was killed in the line of duty while deploying spike strips during a vehicle pursuit of an armed subject. May God grant him eternal peace. #NeverForget pic.twitter.com/2an2HAIKke
— NYPD Chaplains Unit (@NYPDchaplains) May 2, 2022
Our condolences go out to @knoxcosheriffil and the family and friends of Deputy Sheriff Nicholas Weist who was struck and killed by a vehicle as he deployed spike strips during a vehicle pursuit of an armed subject. He served in law enforcement for four years. #LODD #EOW pic.twitter.com/IluoazCmN1
— ATF HQ (@ATFHQ) May 2, 2022
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Knox County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Nicholas Weist, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.