For at least the second time this year, a law enforcement officer with a connection to the region has died while at the scene of an accident.
On Saturday, an Illinois State Trooper who attended Madison High School in Madison Twp. and the former Allen Elementary School in Dayton was killed in the line of duty.
Trooper Christopher Lambert, 34, was on scene of a three-vehicle traffic crash in the left lane on Interstate 294 in Glenview, Ill. Lambert was off duty and driving home to Highland Park when he encountered a crash during a snowstorm, according to the state patrol.
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While he handled that crash, another vehicle failed to stop and struck Lambert while he was outside of his patrol car, according to the state patrol. Lambert sustained serious injuries and was given CPR by an off-duty nurse before being transported to Glenbrook Hospital. He died a few hours later.
“Trooper Lambert was a great trooper and was respected by those within and from outside the ISP, this is a tremendous loss which could have been prevented and should have never happened,” ISP Director Leo P. Schmitz said. “Trooper Lambert deliberately placed his vehicle in a position to protect the lives of the victims of the previous crash, and took on the danger himself. He will be remembered for his dedication to the Illinois State Police and for giving the ultimate sacrifice to protect and serve the citizens of Illinois.”
On Jan. 4, Colerain Twp. police officer Dale Woods was hit by a pickup truck while on-duty at the scene of a crash. He died Jan. 7 at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
Last year, one in 10 police fatalities occurred when the officer was outside their vehicle, according to data collected by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. Of the 144 federal, state and local law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty last year in the U.S., 14 were killed when they were struck outside their cruisers, according to a national organization.
Lambert was a five-year veteran of the Illinois State Police District 15 in Downers Grove and was assigned to the Criminal Patrol Team. The U.S. Army veteran served two tours of duty in Iraq and Haiti and an additional three years in the Army Reserve.
Lambert’s family wanted to find a large church to hold the service, because thousands of people are expected to attend, including police officers from around the country and Canada, said Michael Lauritson, funeral director at Donnellan Family Funeral Services in Skokie, which is handling the arrangements.
An online obituary posted Tuesday said Lambert’s survivors include his wife, Halley Martin, parents James and Martha Lambert and 14-month-old daughter, Delaney, who had recently learned to walk. Lambert met his wife when she was a freshman at the University of Dayton before he entered the military.
Lambert’s visitation will be from 2 to 8 p.m. today at Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington. The funeral is set for 10 a.m. Friday.
The family has requested donations to the Trooper Lambert Memorial Fund through the Illinois State Police Heritage Fund at isphf.org/donations or by mail to P.O. Box 8168, Springfield, IL 62791.