Huffpost Chicago

James Sauter, State Trooper, Killed By Semi-Truck On Tri-State Tollway After Stopping To Help Motorist

Posted: Updated:
Illinois State Police
Illinois State Police

A young Illinois State Police officer with a record of helping others was tragically killed late Thursday after he was struck by a semi-trailer on the Tri-State Tollway.

Around 11 p.m., James Sauter, 28, had pulled over in the southbound lanes of I-294 near Willow Road after he had finished helping a motorist, according to ABC Chicago.

Sauter had climbed back into his patrol car when it was struck from behind by a tractor-trailer, causing both vehicles to burst into flames, according to the Sun-Times. Sauter was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Tribune went on to describe the solemn scene that continued at the medical examiner's office, where troopers stiffened their arms to salute a fallen comrade who, even as a cadet, was saving lives. In 2008, Sauter was awarded the Lifesaving Medal for helping save a motorcycle crash victim whom he spotted on his way to the state police training academy.

A member of the State Police since 2008, Sauter is survived by his wife Elizabeth and family.

Sauter's charred patrol car was taken to the morgue on a flatbed truck where it had to be dismantled by fire crews to remove his body.

"Trooper Sauter represented everything good about our department," ISP Director Hiram Grau said during a Friday news conference, according to NBC Chicago. "Now, we need to be with the Sauter family and support his fellow officers and colleagues. I offer my sincere condolences to the entire Sauter family."

A Fox Chicago broadcast says the driver of the semi truck, who sustained only minor injuries, is being investigated.

According to CBS Chicago, Sauter was the second state trooper to die in the line of duty in the past five months.

Around the Web

Illinois State Trooper James Sauter dies in Tri-State Tollway crash in ...

Illinois State Trooper Killed - WIFR.com

Illinois State Police District 15 Trooper killed in Thursday - WREX.com

Trooper killed in I-294 crash - DailyHerald.com

Car Crash Kills Illinois State Trooper - Des Plaines, IL Patch

State trooper killed in Tri-State Tollway crash - Northbrook Star

Truck hits squad car, killing Ill. state trooper | Fort Mill Times - Fort ...

Illinois State Trooper Killed In Chicago Crash - Vermillion County First

Truck hits squad car, killing Ill. state trooper - WGEM.com: Quincy ...

Illinois State trooper dies in I-294 crash - Chicago City And Press

Developing Story, Illinois State trooper dies in Tri-State Tollway crash in ...

State trooper killed in fiery collision with semi on I-294