An off-duty police officer in St. Louis County, Missouri, was one of two people killed in a crash Thursday night, Oct. 10, in Illinois, authorities said.
The crash happened around 11 p.m. Thursday on Route 159 north of Hecker, Illinois.
Illinois State Police said a Hyundai Sonata was passing a semi-truck heading northbound when it collided with a Dodge Caravan head-on. The Hyundai then spun back into the northbound lanes and was hit by the semi-truck.
The off-duty officer and a passenger in the other vehicle were rushed to a hospital. Both later died from their injuries, according to police.
The victim was identified as officer James “Mitch” Ellis, 49, who is survived by a wife and five children, and Ariah Claybrone, 24, of Memphis, Tennessee, KMOV reported.
Ellis joined the police department in 2011 and earned a ‘Lifesaving Award’ for performing CPR on a man in 2012.
He was an active duty United States Marine from 1992 to 1996. He was in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve from 2001 to 2005. He was deployed to Iraq as a squad leader from January to November 2011.
“Our hearts and deepest condolences go out to his family and friends. Officer Ellis was a dedicated police officer, loyal friend, and devoted family man,” St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said.
— Richmond Heights PD (@RHPoliceDeptMo) October 11, 2019
Our thoughts and prayers are with the St. Louis County Police Department family. @stlcountypd
— Sheriff Dave Marshak (@SheriffMarshak) October 11, 2019