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ARLINGTON, Wash. — Police and Washington State Troopers gathered for a motorcade to honor fallen WSP Trooper Sean O’Connell Thursday.
Around 500 police vehicles and officers planed to leave leave from the Smokey Point rest area near Exit 207 on Interstate 5 South in a motorcade procession to honor the fallen trooper. The motorcade was scheduled to leave from the rest area around 11 a.m. and drive 13 miles to the Comcast Arena in Everett.
Trooper Keith Leary said the motorcade of hundreds of police vehicles is a testament on how many people loved Trooper O’Connell.
“He is going to be with us for the rest of our lives and we are going to be able to teach those folks that come in, this is how you need to be a trooper, these are the people we want for our agency, we wish we could have a thousand Sean O’Connell’s,” Leary said.
The memorial service for O’Connell begins at 1 p.m. in Everett and is expected last for three hours.
O’Connell was a state trooper for 16 years. On Friday, O’Connell was working traffic control on a detour around the collapsed Skagit River Bridge when his motorcycle collided with a box truck. He died at the hospital.
Trooper Sean O’Connell was directing traffic around the collapsed I-5 bridge in Skagit County Friday when he was thrown from his motorcycle after colliding with a truck. He was rushed to Skagit Valley Hospital where he died.
The 16-year veteran is survived by his wife and two young children.
Thousands are expected to attend the memorial. Authorities expect traffic delays in the area.
The state patrol has set up a fund to support trooper O’Connell’s family. Donations can be mailed to the Washington State Patrol Memorial Foundation at P.O. Box 7544, Olympia, WA 98507.
MOUNT VERNON — Final preparations are under way for the funeral of fallen Washington State Patrol trooper Sean O’Connell.
Sunday morning, O’Connell’s body was escorted from the Skagit Valley Hospital in Mount Vernon to a funeral home in Everett.
It is both emotionally devastating and inspirational anytime we see motorcades for fallen officers.
“It’s always tough to lose one of our own. It’s always tough to put another name at our memorial down in Shelton. So, anytime we lose someone, regardless of how we lost them in the line of duty, it is always going to be hard,” fellow trooper Mark Francis said.
Steeped in tradition and filled with overwhelming emotions a motorcade some 125 cars long with motorcycles too, a fitting escort for a man who lived his life protecting others and in the end made the ultimate sacrifice.
“He was a big jokester, a real lively personality, a very embracing person. He loved people and in return, they loved him,” Washington State Patrol Chief John R. Batiste said.
Trooper Sean, as he was known to many, was killed in the line of duty Friday afternoon May 31.
He was helping to re-direct traffic around the collapsed I-5 bridge over the Skagit River when he and the motorcycle he was riding collided with a box truck.
Sean was thrown from his bike and died a short time later.
The driver is cooperating and investigators don’t believe alcohol or drugs were factors in the crash.
They have a hard job that they have to do. Every day they risk their lives and things happen for some reason we don’t know why… just show our support,” WSP supporter Debbie said.
All along the 35 mile route ordinary citizens gathered along the side of the road and on I-5 overpasses to say goodbye and thank you.
“I felt it was my duty to come out and show support of any fallen officer from Washington. Anyone who gives up their lives for our freedom and safety,” WSP supporter Casey Jones said.
It’s a show of support trooper O’Connell will never see, but one his fellow troopers will never forget.
“It’s nice to know that in times like these they respect and admire us and show love and support for us, just as much as we do for them serving them every day,” Trooper Francis said.
Funeral arrangements are still being finalized.
We should know more about that Monday.
Trooper O’Connell leaves behind a wife and two children.
MOUNT VERNON – A motorcade for the body of fallen Washington State Patrol Trooper Sean O’Connell departed from Skagit Valley Hospital in Mount Vernon around 11 a.m. Sunday and headed south on Interstate 5 to a funeral home in Everett, the WSP reported. An estimated 125 patrol cars were in the motorcade. The somber event honored Trooper O’Connell, who on his motorcycle when was stuck and killed by a box truck driver in Mount Vernon on Friday, May 31st.
The motorcade will devlier Trooper O’Connell’s body to Solie Funeral Home in Everett, the WSP reported. Members of the public wishing to leave flowers in honor of Trooper O’Connell may do so at the WSP district headquarters at 2700 116th Street Northeast in Marysville. Drivers can take exit 202 from I-5 and go west.
Funeral arrangements for Trooper O’Connell are expected to be announced on Monday, the WSP reported.
Skagit County — During rush hour traffic, a Washington State Trooper was struck and killed by a truck in Skagit County. Troopers say this isn’t the first serious accident in the area since the bridge collapse and motorists need to be careful.
Friday night, Chief John Batiste addressed the media about the trooper’s death. Batiste said, “It’s with a heavy heart that I stand before you this evening to announce our loss. The citizen’s loss of a great human being and a great trooper.”
On Friday afternoon, a white box truck struck and killed state trooper Sean O’Connell in Skagit County. The 38 year-old, father of two, was helping traffic flow through one of the bottlenecks around the Skagit River Bridge.
Troopers say the detours have caused traffic tie ups and a number of serious accidents like this one.
Trooper Keith Leary said, “You increase the traffic those incidents are going to happen. They can be preventable if you watch out.”
Locals say the backups are a mess. Because of traffic, Mauricio Soto missed his son’s soccer game last night.
“It’s probably triple or four or five times more. It’s worse than when the tulip festival is,” Soto said.
At a Conway espresso stand, Marissa Hansen has a front row seat for the show.
Hansen said, “A lot of people come through here complaining about all the traffic.”
Troopers advise motorists to use caution.
“A lot of folks aren’t used to driving in some of the streets,” Trooper Leary said. “If you are going on unfamiliar roads the best advice is take your time. There’s a major freeway closed. It should be anticipated or common sense that it’s going to take time.”
Today, people took time to remember trooper O’connell with flowers. This horrific event might remind drivers that life is precious and be patient.
MOUNT VERNON – The Washington State Patrol says Trooper Sean O’Connell was killed in an on-duty accident Friday evening, when the motorcycle he was driving was hit by a box truck.
Trooper O’Connell, who was 38 years old, was taken to Skagit Valley Hospital.
Just before 5:45 Friday evening in Conway, WSP says Trooper O’Connell was heading eastbound on his patrol motorcycle on Fir Island Road when a white box truck struck the officer. WSP says O’Connell was thrown from his bike and landed in the middle of the roadway.
The truck driver was not harmed during the collision. Officials say he’s a 49 year old man from Mount Vernon.
Trooper O’Connell had been with the agency for 16 years, was married with a son age seven and a daughter age five.
“We not only lost a great trooper, we lost a great human being,” Batiste said. “Sean was known around the department and the community for both his sense of humor and sense of compassion.”
WSP says Trooper O’Connell was participating in a traffic control detail in connection with the detour around the Skagit River Bridge collapse. Details of the fatal collision are under investigation, but WSP says it is known that O’Connell had checked the length of a vehicle backup and was returning to a traffic control point when the fatal collision occurred.
Batiste confirmed that the other driver was cooperating completely with the investigation, and that neither drugs nor alcohol are thought to be a factor.
“We have no indication that this is anything other than a tragic accident,” Batiste said.
WSP says memorial services will be developed according to the wishes of Trooper O’Connell’s family, and those arrangements are pending.