ST. GEORGE – Several Utah Highway Patrol troopers from Southern Utah will join others honoring fellow trooper Eric Ellsworth, who died from injuries incurred in the line of duty last week. Gov. Gary Herbert has ordered the lowering of flags as well.
Herbert ordered both the U.S. and the Utah state flag be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset at all state facilities Wednesday in honor of Ellsworth. He also issued the following statement:
Jeanette and I are heartbroken by the news of Trooper Eric Ellsworth’s passing. Eric was an exceptional second generation UHP Trooper who cared deeply for his young family. A committed public servant, he paid the ultimate sacrifice while keeping others safe from harm. Our prayers are with his loving wife Janica, their children, and the entire UHP family at this difficult time.
“We have two troopers who will be on their motorcycles,” UHP Sgt. Jake Hicks said of those attending the funeral from the St. George Area, “and I think we’ve got two on the honor guard as well.”
From Iron County, UHP Lt. Steve Esplin said about half of his section will be attending the funeral.
“We have about seven troopers and their spouses planning to attend tomorrow,” Esplin said.
The funeral service in Ogden is public, details follow below.
Ellsworth, 32, died Nov. 22 after being struck by a vehicle Nov. 18 while responding to a report of low-hanging power lines near Garland City.
“The entire thing’s a tragedy for the trooper’s family and the driver of the vehicle also,” UHP Sgt. Jake Hicks said. “The whole thing’s just very sad.”
“You know, we’ll push forward,” he said, “attend to our business, look out for folks and take care of the trooper’s family and just keep doing our job.”
Ellsworth was hit while responding to the power lines near 13600 North and state Route 13 in Box Elder County. He stepped out of his patrol car to warn the driver of an approaching semitractor-trailer when he was struck by a 16-year-old girl driving a 2006 Chevy sedan.
The girl is a new driver and the incident was an accident, Utah Public Safety Commissioner Keith Squires said during a press conference. Troopers have said they want the girl to know there is no ill-will and that they love her and understand the crash was an accident, the Standard Examiner reported. Ellsworth’s family has also issued a statement offering forgiveness to the young driver.
Funeral and memorials
Funeral service for Ellsworth will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Dee Events Center, 4444 Event Center Drive in Ogden. His remains will then be escorted to the Brigham City Cemetery.
An account at America First Credit Union has been set up to help Ellsworth’s family; those wishing to contribute can do so at any of the credit union’s offices.
Ellsworth is the second Utah law enforcement officer to die in the line of duty this month. West Valley Police Officer Cody Brotherson was struck and killed Nov. 6 by a vehicle whose driver was fleeing from law enforcement during a pursuit.
St. George News reporter Tracie Sullivan contributed to this report.
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