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Officer Down

Friday, October 17, 2014

Ashton police chief dies at 52

--Not being reported as a Line of Duty death at this time but the loss of a fellow officer is tragic no matter
the circumstances.
Thoughts and prayers to Chief Farringer's family and to the Ashton Police Department.
God's Speed Sir--

Authorities find him unresponsive in car north of Amboy

Published: Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014 10:03 p.m. CDT
Updated: Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014 11:20 p.m. CDT

BY CHRISTI WARREN 800-798-4085, ext. 5521

AMBOY – Ashton Police Chief Darrell Farringer died Thursday evening, the Lee County Sheriff's Department announced in a news release.

At 5 p.m., officers responded to a call about a car that had gone off the road north of Amboy in the area of U.S. routes 52 and 30.

When officers arrived at the scene, they found Farringer, 52, unresponsive in his car. He was taken to KSB Hospital where he was then pronounced dead. The car had minimal damage, and Farringer was wearing a seat belt. That, among other things, led authorities to believe Farringer veered into a cornfield as a result of a medical issue, Lee County Sheriff John Varga said.

Lee County Coroner Jesse Partington said an autopsy is being scheduled for today.

Farringer had been chief of police in Ashton since September 2012.

That appointment followed a 20-year career in the Marines and 10 years spent working as a detective in Georgia for the Savannah Police Department, according to an article published in the Ashton Gazette.

After graduating from Amboy High School in 1980, he worked his way up to the level of gunnery sergeant and served in America, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, and Thailand before being selected to work as a Marines recruiter in Alabama, then Australia, and Hawaii, the article said.

Farringer was very involved in the Ashton community. Over the past year, he had been trying to put together an anti-heroin program for use in all Lee County schools, to combat what he saw as a worrisome increase in usage, especially among teens and young adults.

“Kids don’t realize what can happen,” he said in an August interview with Sauk Valley Media. “Even after one usage, they can get addicted. ... We know we have a problem, but we’ve all got to be part of the solution.”

"Without a doubt, it’s extremely tragic," Sheriff Varga said of Farringer's death. "It is certainly a loss for not only the folks in Ashton, but also for all of Lee County. It’s a sad day all around.

When the phone call came in – it’s just been – I’m still trying to process everything. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family."

Lee County State's Attorney Anna Sacco-Miller had been working with Farringer on the anti-heroin program.

"He was a very nice man," Sacco-MIller said. "He was easy to work with, and really committed to the community – especially when it came to the Ashton-Franklin schools and the kids there. The community will miss him."