Wrong-way driver in I-94 crash that killed trooper never had Illinois license

  • Illinois State Police trooper Gerald Ellis was killed Saturday by a wrong-way driver on the Tri-State Tollway near Green Oaks.

    Illinois State Police trooper Gerald Ellis was killed Saturday by a wrong-way driver on the Tri-State Tollway near Green Oaks.

 
 

A 44-year-old man who had alcohol in his system the night he caused a crash on Interstate 94 that killed Illinois State Police trooper Gerald Ellis was never licensed to drive in Illinois.

Dan Davies, 44, of Calumet City had never been issued a driver's license through the state but was considered a "repeat offender" on Illinois roadways, said Dave Druker, a spokesman for the Illinois Secretary of State's Office.

Druker said Davies, who was driving in the wrong direction and died in the crash, had been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol and driving without a license, on top of four convictions for speeding, two convictions for driving without insurance and eight convictions for driving while his license was suspended or revoked.

Court records show Davies also was facing charges of aggravated DUI for a stop that was initiated in Chicago. During the same arrest, he was charged with driving an uninsured vehicle, possession of open alcohol and driving while his license suspended. That case was still pending in Cook County court.

Druker said Davies' home address was listed in Calumet City, so he would have needed an Illinois license to operate a motor vehicle. But Druker said the secretary of state's office has never had a record of Davies possessing an Illinois driver's license.

When asked why Davies was still driving, Druker said, "I think that is something that would need to be discussed with judges and state's attorneys in Cook County."

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Ellis, an 11-year state police officer and military veteran from Antioch, is survived by his wife, Stacy, his daughters Kaylee and Zoe, his brother, Keith, and his parents.

Authorities said Davies had alcohol in his system as he drove east in the westbound lanes on I-94 at 3:25 a.m. Saturday. He slammed into Ellis' Illinois State Police squad car near Green Oaks, east of Libertyville.

Ellis, 36, was heading home to Antioch when the crash occurred. He was rushed to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, where he was pronounced dead, officials said.

A visitation for Ellis will be from 2 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the James Lumber Center for the Performing Arts at the College of Lake County, 19351 W. Washington St., Grayslake. A police procession will be at 6 p.m.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Ellis' funeral will be at 10 a.m. Friday at the same location.

Witness accounts on social media have said Ellis intentionally drove into the path of Davies' car to stop him while Davies was driving the wrong way on the interstate. Illinois State Police officials said they are aware of the online account but cannot confirm it.

Lake County Coroner Howard Cooper said he is unable to say how much alcohol Davies had in his system until the results of a toxicology report is returned in several weeks. An autopsy showed Davies died from multiple injuries.

The investigation into the crash continues.

Family members described Ellis as the person who would lend a helping hand without having to be asked. They called him a loving father and loyal and dedicated husband.

"Jerry will be remembered as the foundation of our family and the community," the family said in a statement. "Through his compassion, devotion, and nurturing abilities, he supported anyone that crossed his path. Each day, he will be remembered as a husband and father who was noble and altruistic."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Donations to the Ellis family can be made by visiting the Illinois State Police Heritage Foundation website at www.isphf.org/donations and noting Trooper Gerald Ellis Memorial Fund in the comments section.

Donations also can be mailed to the foundation at P.O. Box 8168, Springfield, Illinois, 62791.

• Daily Herald Staff Writer Barb Vitello contributed to this report.

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