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Our View: Arrive alive this holiday

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

Illinois State Police have a special incentive to enforce traffic safety laws as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches.

It was a year ago Tuesday that a state trooper was killed in the line of duty by a motorist.

Trooper Kyle Deatherage of St. Jacob died Nov. 26, 2012, when he was hit by a passing truck while conducting a traffic stop on Interstate 55 near Litchfield in central Illinois.

Deatherage’s death is a tragic reminder for all drivers to slow down and exercise caution around police traffic stops, vehicle crashes and stranded cars along the roadside because there could be pedestrians nearby.

State troopers are using Deatherage’s memory as an incentive to save lives this holiday season.

A special enforcement memorial operation – Operation Kyle – has been dedicated to the fallen trooper.

For a 24 hours period from midnight Tuesday through midnight today, aggressive patrols by troopers will take place on Illinois roadways to boost safety for drivers and passengers.

Police will enforce their Fatal Four mission: speeding, seat belts, driving under the influence and distracted driving.

Interstate highways will be saturated with troopers. Roadside safety checks will be conducted. DUI enforcement also will be a priority through the end of the holiday season.

Local police, sheriff’s departments and the Illinois Department of Transportation also will be involved, according to an Illinois State Police news release.

Hiram Grau, director of the Illinois State Police, lamented Trooper Deatherage’s tragic death four days after Thanksgiving 2012.

“Operation Kyle will be a strong reminder to the motoring public that safe driving saves lives,” Grau said in the news release.

Of particular concern, Grau said, are college students and young people who choose to drink and drive.

“Sobriety checkpoints will also be enforced, and DUI violators risk arrest and severe penalties,” he said.

Take the advice of police: Don’t speed, do wear seat belts, don’t drink and drive, and don’t engage in distracted driving.

Arrive alive this Thanksgiving.

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