The small community of St. Jacob is in a "state of shock and mourning," Mayor Ray Muniz said, after learning of the death of one its residents, Illinois State Police Trooper Kyle Deatherage.
"There's a lot of disbelief about what happened," Muniz said. "He was a really good young man. He stood above the rest when it came to integrity."
Deatherage, 32, was killed by a tractor-trailer during a traffic stop Monday morning on Interstate 55 near Litchfield. There was no word as of Tuesday evening if the driver of the tractor-trailer will face any charges.
A law in Illinois is designed to prevent deaths like Deatherage's. Drivers who see flashing lights ahead are supposed to slow down and move to another lane of traffic.
Services for Deatherage will be held Friday and Saturday at his alma mater, Triad High School in Troy.
Muniz said Deatherage lived in St. Jacob most of his life. According to Deatherage's obituary, he moved to St. Jacob in 1990.
"I knew him when he was just a little guy," Muniz said. "I watch all these kids grow up over the years."
He said Deatherage was always willing to lend a helping hand.
"He was willing to come into town and help out," Muniz said. "He was always willing to step forward and help."
Muniz said the "strong community of St. Jacob" will be there for Deatherage's wife, Sarah, and the couple's two small children, Kaylee and Camden.
"When tragedies like this occur, it's always really uplifting to watch the community come together," he said.
The BackStoppers organization will not be able to assist the Deatherage family as the nonprofit serves only counties in Illinois State Police District 11.
"Unfortunately, where the death occurred is not in our coverage area," BackStoppers Chief Ron Battelle said. "Certainly, our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this time."
Deatherage had been a member of the Illinois State Police since May 31, 2009. He was assigned to District 18 as a motorcycle officer.
Prior to working for Illinois State Police, Deatherage worked for the Madison County Sheriff's Department from July 2004 to May 2009. He began his career in law enforcement at the Staunton Police Department.
He graduated from Triad High School in 1998 and received his associate's degree in criminal justice at Lewis and Clark Community College.
In addition to his wife and children, Deatherage is survived by his paternal grandmother Brooksie Deatherage of Marine, his father Barry Deatherage Sr. of Staunton, mother April Deatherage of Marine, brother Barry Deatherage Jr. of Highland, brother Kenneth Deatherage of Highland and sister Anna Deatherage of Springfield.
Spengel-Boulanger Funeral Home in Highland is handling arrangements. A visitation will begin at 4:30 p.m. Friday at Triad High School and be held again from 9 a.m. Saturday until service time.
A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday. Deatherage will be buried at Marine Cemetery in Marine.
Memorial contributions may be made to the scholarship fund for his children's education or the Kyle W. Deatherage Criminal Justice Scholarship Fund at Triad High School.
Contact reporter Jamie Forsythe at 239-2562 or firstname.lastname@example.org.