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Wrong-way driver who killed Illinois State Trooper had alcohol in his system, coroner says

36-year-old Trooper Gerald Ellis was killed in the line of duty on Saturday.

The Lake County Coroner said that the wrong-way driver, who killed Illinois State Trooper Gerald Ellis, had alcohol in his system at the time of the crash. Records also show that the man had two previous DUI cases.

Lake County Coroner Dr. Howard Cooper identified Dan Davies, 44, of Calumet City, as the wrong-way driver who killed Trooper Ellis. Cooper told Lake and McHenry County Scanner Tuesday afternoon that Davies had alcohol in his system at the time of the crash.

Illinois State Police Acting Director Brendan Kelly said that at 3:25 a.m. Saturday Trooper Ellis, badge 6038, was on-duty in his squad car traveling home on Interstate 94 westbound near mile marker 16.75 in Libertyville when a wrong-way driver, later identified as Davies, was traveling eastbound in the westbound lanes and struck the trooper head-on.

Trooper Ellis was transported to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville with life-threatening injuries and was later pronounced dead, Kelly said. Davies also died from his injuries, authorities said.

This was the second line of duty death of an Illinois State Trooper in a span of two days.

“While the men and women of the Illinois State Police are still grieving our recent loss, it is with profound heartache and unfathomable sadness that we inform you of the death of another fallen trooper, Trooper Gerald Ellis,” Kelly said.

“Trooper Ellis laid down his life while protecting the citizens of this state. We are asking the public to respectfully give consideration to the family of Trooper Ellis and the ISP while we continue to process and work through this tragedy,” Kelly added.

Cooper said that full toxicology test results on Davies is pending. He also confirmed that both Trooper Ellis and Davies died from multiple injuries due to the crash, according to the autopsies.

The Daily Herald reported, citing a spokesman for the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office, that Davies had previously been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol and driving without a license. He also had two convictions of driving without insurance and eight convictions for driving while his license was suspended or revoked.

Davies also had a pending case in Cook County for an aggravated driving under the influence charge, the Daily Herald reported.

It was also learned after the crash that Trooper Ellis reportedly intentionally struck the wrong-way driver in order to save other people traveling on the interstate.

“Trooper Gerald Ellis you are my HERO. This officer paid the ultimate sacrifice early this morning and saved my daughter’s life,” Carrie Kay said in a Facebook post on Saturday.

“She was traveling home from Washington D.C. with a family she babysits for. From what we were told Trooper Ellis was directly ahead of them two lanes over and moved his squad car into their lane to block a wrong way driver on interstate I-94 in Illinois from hitting the car she was in,” Kay said.

“Thank you God and Officer Ellis for letting her and the others in that car come back home to us. We are so ever grateful to you,” Kay added.

Trooper Ellis was 36 years old and an 11-year veteran of the Illinois State Police District 15 in Downers Grove. He was also a veteran of the United States Military.

Trooper Ellis leaves behind a wife, two children, his parents and his brother. The investigation into the crash is ongoing by investigators, Illinois State Police said.

A visitation for Ellis is scheduled for 2 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the College of Lake County in the James Lumber Center for the Performing Arts, 19351 West Washington Street in Grayslake. The funeral is scheduled for Friday at 10 a.m. at the same building.


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