Enough is enough.
That’s the message of Illinois State Police after the loss of one of their own in the line of duty.
“How many have to be hurt or killed? One is enough, enough. When are people going to start giving a damn and just doing the right thing?” said Illinois State Police Acting Director Brendan Kelly.
Trooper Brooke Jones-Story was killed Thursday afternoon near Freeport, Illinois while on a traffic stop.
It comes during a week Illinois State Police have been bringing attention to the state’s Move Over Law, also known as Scott’s Law.
The reason is Thursday’s crash bring the number of Illinois Troopers hit on the side of the road up to 15 in the first three months, two of them were fatal.
Trooper Christopher Lambert was killed in January.
That’s compared to eight Illinois Troopers hit in all of 2018.
The increase in danger their Troopers are facing this year is why ISP is putting out the message for drivers to lose the distractions and focus on the road, or suffer the consequences of a split second.
ISP District 7 Trooper Jason Wilson said, “I’ve had many close calls. Any trooper that’s been out there on the roadway and any local police officer or county police officer that’s been out on the roadways.”
He went on to say, “Can probably easily tell you that within a matter of they’ve already had several close calls.”
A police force feeling anguish and anger.
With the loss of Trooper Brooke Jones-Story, Trooper Jason Wilson and his colleagues in the Quad Cities feel a bit more pain.
Trooper Wilson said, “Sorry, this particular crash did hit close to home to our district.”
He said Trooper Jones-Story was good friends with several troopers who work in this area along with her husband.
Trooper Wilson said, “I’ve known Brooke’s husband ever since I started my career. He came down and taught our class, several different classes for first responder instructor.”
Now, Trooper Wilson said they’re coming together to mourn, but also push for drivers to understand the laws of the road.
Trooper Wilson said, “Please understand, if you’re on receiving the end of Scott’s Law ticket, you’re going to have a very unsympathetic ear.”
Scott’s Law or Illinois’ Move Over Law requires drivers to slow down and move over for any vehicle with flashing lights, emergency or personal, that’s on the side of the road.
Trooper Wilson said, “It’s going to be more inconvenient when you have to pay that massive fine and when you have to come to court and facing the possibility of suspension.”
He said the main issue isn’t the weather. It’s drivers focused on their phones or other tasks and not the pavement ahead.
“The problem is that most people don’t think about that they may have been involved in a very close call with an officer because it’s literally a split second that that close call has taken place and that may not of even seen it because they were looking down at their phone. They were looking in the back of their car,” said Trooper Wilson.
He said law enforcement sometimes has no choice but to be along the edge or in the median and that’s when it’s a driver’s responsibility to see.
Trooper Wilson said, “You are literally taking our lives in our hands, and it’s not so much that we are personally worried about our lives, but we have families that we want to go home to, that expect us to walk in that door.”
Trooper Wilson told Local 4 News he plans on attending the service for Trooper Jones-Story.
So far this year, citations for Scott’s Law violations are up with about 500 in the first three months.
That’s compared to about 200 this time in 2018.