State trooper, 34, killed while stopped for crash on I-294

Chicago Tribune (Sunday) - - CHICAGOLAND - By Jeremy Gorner, Rose­mary Sobol and Elvia Malagon [email protected]­ [email protected]­ [email protected]­

An Illi­nois state trooper was killed Sat­ur­day while re­spond­ing to a traf­fic crash on I-294 in the North­brook area, state po­lice and sources said.

Trooper Christo­pher Lambert was on his way home just be­fore 4:45 p.m. when he came across a crash in­volv­ing mul­ti­ple cars in the north­bound lanes of I-294 near Wil­low Road, said Leo Sch­mitz, di­rec­tor of Illi­nois State Po­lice, dur­ing a news con­fer­ence late Sat­ur­day.

Sch­mitz de­scribed Lambert, 34, as mak­ing a “typ­i­cal trooper move” when he stopped on the left shoul­der to in­ves­ti­gate the crash. “He sees a three­ve­hi­cle crash, he po­si­tions his ve­hi­cle in the left-hand lanes so to save the lives of those peo­ple in the crash,” Sch­mitz said. “He was struck and lost his life while he was do­ing that.”

A mo­torist trav­el­ing north hit Lambert while he was out­side his po­lice car, Sch­mitz said. Lambert was stand­ing along­side the orig­i­nal crash when he was struck, said Sgt. Jac­que­line Cepeda, a spokes­woman for state po­lice. “He died pre­vent­ing oth­ers from in­jury,” Cepeda said.

A nurse who was on the scene per­formed CPR on Lambert un­til paramedics trans­ported him to Glen­brook Hos­pi­tal in Glen­view. He was pro­nounced dead at 7:24 p.m. Sat­ur­day, Sch­mitz said.

Lambert had been as­signed to the Toll­way Dis­trict, ac­cord­ing to a source fa­mil­iar with the in­ci­dent. He had been with the depart­ment for five years, Sch­mitz said. He is sur­vived by his 1-year-old daugh­ter, his wife and his par­ents.

Of­fi­cers who worked closely with Lambert de­scribed him as a hard worker who was known for get­ting tasks done, Sch­mitz said. “He was a go-get­ter,” said Trooper Duane Chap­pell, one of Lambert’s co­work­ers.

The traf­fic crash remains un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion, though Sch­mitz said Sat­ur­day’s snow­fall could have played a role. “We lost our trooper, we be­came weaker. We lost one of our own, one of our best. Ev­ery­body loved him.”

The last Illi­nois State Po­lice trooper killed while on duty was Ryan Al­bin, who died in June 2017 af­ter a down­state high­way crash in­volv­ing a trac­tor-trailer near a con­struc­tion zone.

On March 28, 2013, Trooper James Sauter, 28, of Ver­non Hills, was killed while on duty on I-294 near North­brook. His po­lice car had been parked on the shoul­der of the south­bound lanes when the driver of a semi­trac­tor-trailer slammed into it, au­thor­i­ties pre­vi­ously said.

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