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