GRAYSLAKE, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois state trooper who was killed by a wrong-way driver in an Interstate 94 crash was remembered Friday as a loving husband and father and a dedicated law enforcement officer.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker called Trooper Gerald Ellis, 36, a big-hearted, kind person and recalled a photo of Ellis allowing his young daughter to put a tiara on his head.
“He exuded sympathy and strength all at once,” Pritzker said, as Ellis’ wife, Stacy, and daughters, Kaylee and Zoe, sat in the first row. The governor called Ellis, “The friend who reminds you of what it means to be among the better angels.”
Ellis died Saturday after his squad car was struck by a wrong-way driver, who also died in the wreck.
Ellis is the third state trooper to die in a traffic crash so far this year. On Wednesday, funeral services were held for Trooper Brooke Jones-Story, who died last week after she was struck during a traffic stop in Freeport.
Pritzker told the hundreds in attendance at College of Lake County in Grayslake, including many law enforcement officers, that Ellis’ memory is a blessing to the Illinois State Police.
“He embodied what all of you bring to your duty every single day,” Pritzker said.
Ellis was an 11-year state police veteran with District 15 in Downers Grove, as well as a U.S. military veteran.