Most of us have jobs in which we are pretty certain we can go home after our respective shifts.
State Trooper James Sauter and Pontiac police officer Casey Kohlmeier did not.
They were presented posthumously the Medal of Honor by the Illinois State Police. In all Friday, sixteen officers from seven departments around the state were honored for heroism.
Sauter lost his life in March 2013, when a semi-tractor trailer – whose driver had allegedly fallen asleep – plowed into the rear of his parked car on an interstate shoulder. In October of that year, Kohlmeier was killed while parked in an interstate median. His vehicle was broadsided by an alleged drunk driver.
Wrong place at the wrong time? ISP director Hiram Grau says, not necessarily.
“They’re heroes, just as well as everyone else here,” he said. Losing a loved one who died in the line of duty is, he said, “a very, very difficult thing to accept.”
Deputies David Mordt and Austin Schmitt, Boone Co Sheriff’s Dept
Det. James Burnett, Calumet City PD
Sgt. James Cascone and Offs. Ronald Coleman, Nelson Lopez, Jeff Rumbaugh, Paul Sandoval, Chris Skarupinski, and Lawrence Williams, Chicago PD
Off. Steven Francisko, Illinois Conservation Police
Troopers James Sauter (posthumous) and Brad Williams, Illinois State Police
Offs. Kristen Abbinante and Carlos Panizo, Park Ridge PD
Off. Casey Kohlmeier (posthumous), Pontiac PD