TROY, ILL. • Hundreds of somber police officers, their badges wrapped in black, filled the Triad High School gym Saturday for the funeral of Illinois State Trooper Kyle Deatherage.
It took more than 30 minutes for them all to file in and be seated, where they joined hundreds of others who came to pay their respects.
Deatherage, 32, was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer during a traffic stop Monday morning near Litchfield. He died instantly from the impact as he stood along northbound Interstate 55 near mile marker 62. Police have not said whether charges will be filed against the truck driver.
Deatherage was recently assigned to motorcycle patrol in District 18, based in Litchfield — a move he requested so he could get off the night shift to spend more time with his wife, Sarah, and their children, Kaylee, 4, and Camden, 10 months old.
He began his law enforcement career in Staunton and was a Madison County sheriff’s deputy from 2004 to 2009. He was sworn in as a state trooper in 2009.
His obsession with lights — an obsession that would later include sirens — began when he was just a boy, said his brother Kenneth Deatherage, a teacher at Triad High who spoke at the funeral.
Kyle Deatherage taped construction lights to the ceiling of the room they shared.
“The whole room would be flashing all night long,” he said.
And it continued into adulthood, when he found uses for lights and sirens beyond police work. The brothers once hid in Kyle Deatherage’s Madison County squad car and flipped on the lights and sirens to scare kids who came to spread toilet paper at Kenneth Deatherage’s house around Halloween.
They had joked about who would foot the bill to buy a hunting dog for Camden once he was old enough to join them on hunts.
“It looks like now, I’m going to be buying the hunting dog,” Kenneth Deatherage said.
Illinois State Police Director Hiram Grau also spoke and praised Kyle Deatherage for the dedication he showed to his job, “giving 300 percent.”
Deatherage, who lived in St. Jacob and graduated from Triad High in 1998, had been one of 29 Illinois troopers sent to New Jersey last month to help after Hurricane Sandy.
Police officers from all over Missouri and Illinois, including several from Chicago, joined the procession of motorcycles and squad cars from the school to Marine City Cemetery, where Deatherage was laid to rest. That procession also included Patriot Guard riders and officers from other states, including the Texas Highway Patrol, Louisiana State Police and the Ohio State Patrol.
The trooper’s family released a statement thanking the community for the outpouring of support.
“Our lives will be forever changed as we remember the great husband, father, brother, son, and friend that Kyle was,” the statement said. “
However, we would like everyone to recognize the vital and dangerous role that officers play in keeping us safe. We ask that as we use our roadways, please practice safe driving and be aware of our emergency safety workers.”
Two memorial funds have been established at Scott Credit Union in Highland. The Kyle W. Deatherage Criminal Justice Scholarship fund will be used to support a student entering the law enforcement profession and the Kyle Deatherage Memorial Fund will be used to pay for his children’s education.
Anyone wishing to make a donation can call the Scott Credit Union at 618-345-1000.