Statewide crackdown to honor Vernon Hills trooper killed in crash
Illinois State Police will be conducting road safety checks statewide Friday and Saturday in a special enforcement operation dedicated to fallen Trooper James Sauter of Vernon Hills.
Sauter, 28, was killed in the line of duty March 28, 2013, when his patrol car was struck by a semi truck on the Tri-State Tollway near Willow Road.
All state police sworn personnel are committed to working Operation Sauter, and will be aggressively patrolling Illinois roadways for 24 consecutive hours from March 28 to March 29 in his memory, according to the agency.
"Operation Sauter will kick off with ISP officers saturating the interstates statewide, conducting road side safety checks to enforce the ISP's Fatal Four mission: Speeding, Seatbelts, DUI and Distracted Driving," state police Col. Michael Zerbonia said in a news release Thursday.
State police say Operation Sauter also will focus on the safe driving of commercial motor vehicles. Sauter was one of two troopers killed on duty since November 2012 when struck by a commercial motor vehicle. Another, Trooper Douglas Balder, was seriously injured in January when struck by a truck on the Reagan Tollway (I-88), in a crash that claimed the life of tollway worker Vincent Petrella of Wheeling.
The Illinois State Police urge motorists and out-of-state visitors to plan ahead, follow the rules of the road, and take necessary safety precautions during this spring's driving season.