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Man charged in crash that killed state trooper

Trooper Brooke Jones-Story | Illinois State Police

A man has been arrested in last month’s fiery crash that killed an Illinois state trooper near Rockford.

Craig W. Dittmar, 55, is charged with two counts of reckless homicide and one count of operating a commercial vehicle while fatigued and causing death, Illinois State Police said in a statement.

Dittmar was allegedly driving the semitrailer that crashed on March 28 into Trooper Brooke Jones-Story while she inspected another semitrailer on Route 20, police said.

Craig W. Dittmar | Illinois State Police
Craig W. Dittmar | Illinois State Police

His semitrailer allegedly veered off the roadway and struck Jones-Story’s squad car, the semitrailer she was inspecting and Jones-Story herself, police said. Both semitrailers burst into flames. No other injuries were reported.

Dittmar, of Stockton, was cited at the time for improper lane usage and violating Scott’s Law, which mandates that all drivers slow down and move over for emergency vehicles, police said.

The Stephenson County state’s attorney’s office approved the new charges on Thursday and issued an arrest warrant, police said. Dittmar was taken into custody and brought to Stephenson County Jail, where he is being held on a $250,000 bail.

Sixteen state troopers have been hit by vehicles, three of them fatally, since Jan. 1 of this year and continues an unexplained spike in crashes. State police said the crashes were related to violations of Scott’s Law.

Trooper Gerald Ellis was killed on March 30 when a wrong-way driver crashed into his squad car in north suburban Green Oaks. The wrong-way driver, identified as Dan Davies, was also killed in the crash.

On Jan. 12, Trooper Christopher Lambert was struck and killed on I-294 when he stopped to help at a three-car crash in the north suburbs of Chicago. Scott Larsen, 61, of Wisconsin, was charged with a count of reckless homicide of an officer and two counts of reckless homicide involving Scott’s Law.

About 500 violations of Scott’s Law have been logged this year, compared to nearly 200 during the same time period last year, according to state police. The law is named after Chicago Fire Department Lt. Scott Gillen, who was killed on an expressway in 2000.