EAST ST. LOUIS • Both on and off police duty, Katie Busby never met a stranger.
As a 911 dispatcher, Busby, 28, of Belleville, went the extra mile to reassure callers that they would be OK, said Herb Simmons, director of the St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency.
"When someone dials 911, it's usually one of the worst days of their life, and she always took the time to make sure they were understood and got the services they needed," he said.
Busby, a former police officer with three departments in the Metro East area, was killed early Monday when her motorcycle veered off of eastbound Interstate 64 in East St. Louis, according to an Illinois State Police crash report.
Busby was eastbound on I-64 about 4:26 a.m. when she lost control of her 2013 Honda Motorcycle and traveled off the right edge of the roadway, according to the report. The crash ejected Busby, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
"People are talking about it everywhere," said Simmons, a longtime friend of Busby's family and former mayor of her hometown of East Carondelet. "That's how she touched people's lives. She was a very well-liked person and full of life. It's a tragedy."
A native of East Carondelet, Busby followed her father into a career in law enforcement, Simmons said. Her father, Chris Joellenbeck, is police chief in Trenton, Ill.
Busby served as a police officer in Belleville, Washington Park and Brooklyn before starting with the St. Clair County 911 service, where she worked for about a year, Simmons said.
"She was a true team player, working extra time any time you asked," he said. "Anything she did she put her mind to it, and her heart and soul. She was absolutely dedicated to her law enforcement career."
Busby left the agency early this year to start a job providing security for the Federal Reserve, Simmons said.
"We hated to see her leave but she wanted to advance her career in law enforcement," he said. "It was her dream."
Authorities with the Belleville, Washington Park and Brooklyn police departments were not immediately available to comment Tuesday.