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Officer Down

Friday, March 29, 2013

R.I.P.: Trooper James Sauter (ILLINOIS)


Trooper James Sauter
Illinois State Police, Illinois
End of Watch: Thursday, March 28, 2013

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 28
Tour: 5 years
Badge # 6095
Cause: Automobile accident
Incident Date: 3/28/2013
Weapon: Not available
Suspect: Not available

Trooper Sauter was killed when an semi-trailer truck struck his cruiser on Interstate 294 south of Willow Road shortly after 11:00 p.m. Trooper Sauter was stopped in the left shoulder of the south-bound lanes when the semi rear-ended his cruiser, causing both vehicles to burst into flames. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Trooper Sauter was a 5-year veteran of the Illinois State Police and is survived by his wife and family.

Please contact the following agency to send condolences or to obtain funeral arrangements:

Director Hiram Grau
Illinois State Police
801 S 7th Street
P.O. Box 19461
Springfield, IL 62794
Phone: (217) 782-6637

Video and Story at ABC7 Chicago


March 29, 2013 (NORTHBROOK, Ill.) (WLS) -- A 28-year-old Illinois State trooper was killed in a Thursday night Tri-State Tollway crash after his squad car and a semi collided.

James Sauter was on duty in his Illinois State Police squad car after helping a motorist when his vehicle was rear-ended by a moving van at I-294 southbound at Willow Road. Both vehicles burst into flames. Sauter was pronounced dead at the scene Friday at 2:15 a.m.

Sauter had been a member of the Illinois State Police since June 29, 2008. Trooper Sauter had just completed a temporary assignment in Air Operations and was recently re-assigned to District 15 as a patrolman.

Trooper Sauter is survived by his wife, Elizabeth and family.

Sauter received a Lifesaving Medal while still a cadet in October of 2008 after coming across a motorcycle on its side on eastbound I-80. The ISP says Sauter grabbed his first responder bag and crossed over the lanes of traffic to assist a woman face down in a pool of blood. The ISP says Sauter cleared blood from the woman's airway, and she survived.

"Trooper Sauter left a legacy of courage, honor and duty," ISP Director Hiram Grau. "Our hearts are heavy with grief, but they are also strengthened by Trooper Sauter's brave calling and dedicated service."

The driver of the United Van Lines moving van Involved in the accident did not suffer any life-threatening injuries. He has been hospitalized as a precaution and is answering questions and undergoing tests that will be used in the investigation.

"Certainly his blood and alcohol will be tested," Grau said. "We don't have the results yet though."

Sauter's colleagues hung mourning flags and covered their badges in Sauter's honor.

"Trooper Sauter represented everything good about our department. Now, we need to be with the Sauter family and support his fellow officers and colleagues. I offer my sincere condolences to the entire Sauter family," said Grau. "I'm standing here with a heavy heart along with my fellow officers this morning to announce another tragic loss to our police family."

Sauter lived in Vernon Hills where trooper cars were standing guard by his home.

"I spent some time with his wife Liz this morning and as you can imagine, it is a very difficult time for her and her family," Grau said. "And his dad Donald, they are all devastated as we all are."

"We were just driving on I-294 going southbound. We actually got stopped by traffic. We saw a semi on fire; it was very frightening. We stopped here until they can clean up all the mess," said witness Gaby Magana.