The Illinois State Police dedicated a memorial sign along Interstate 55 in memory of Illinois State Trooper Kyle Deatherage on Thursday in a ceremony his brother Kenny Deatherage called "bittersweet."
The ceremony, held at the Illinois State Police District 18 headquarters in Litchfield, honored Deatherage after he was struck and killed on Nov. 26 along Interstate 55 near Litchfield during a routine traffic stop. The St. Jacob man was 32.
With Deatherage's family and loved ones in attendance, the sign was dedicated on behalf of the Illinois State Police, the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 41 and the Illinois Department of Transportation.
"Words never come easy when you have to dedicate a highway to a young man who gave his life for the citizens of this state," said Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 41 President Michael Powell. "Everybody here would agree that sign means Kyle lost his life performing his duties at a young age. But when I drive by that sign, I'm going to be reminded what an awesome dad, husband, brother and son Kyle was. And that's what I hope everybody takes from that sign."
Deatherage's wife, Sarah, his mother, April, and his brothers Kenny and Barry Jr. were on hand to unveil the sign, which was placed near milepost 62 along Interstate 55 at the site of the accident. Earlier this year a House Joint Resolution was passed designating the northbound and southbound rest stops at milepost 64 as the Trooper Kyle Deatherage Memorial Rest Stop.
"Kyle would be very proud," Kenny Deatherage said of the honor.
The commemoration followed an ISP awards ceremony at Glenwood High School in Chatham on July 31 where Deatherage was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart Medal for his service. The Purple Heart Medal is presented to Illinois State Police personnel who are seriously injured or killed while in the performing their duties.
Johnny Felton, a truck driver from Georgia, is accused of fatally striking Deatherage, who was on the side of the highway conducting a traffic stop. Felton has been charged with reckless homicide and driving without a valid commercial driver's license.