Washington State Patrol finalizes funeral plans for popular trooper

AP: b1487292-f8ff-4546-9581-1bc3885c9409
This photo provided by Washington state patrol shows Trooper Sean O'Connell. The Washington State Patrol says a 38-year-old O'Connell is dead after his motorcycle collided with a box truck Friday, May 31, 2013, near the Skagit County town of Conway. Trooper Sean O'Connell was taken to Skagit Valley Hospital in Mount Vernon, where he was pronounced dead. (AP Photo/Washington State Patrol) | Zoom
A public memorial will be held for a Washington State Trooper killed in Conway Friday evening on Thursday at the Comcast Arena in Everett.

Prior to the 1:00pm service, there will be a procession from the Smokey Point Rest Area along southbound I-5.

Those who wish to honor Trooper Sean O'Connell in the meantime can bring flowers or mementos to the WSP District Headquarters at 2700 116th Ave NE, in Marysville.

Hundreds of patrol cars and motorcycles escorted the body of Trooper O'Connell from Mount Vernon to Everett on Sunday.

With hands over hearts and American flags waving in the breeze, hundreds of people stood on I-5 overpasses and along city streets as 38-year-old Trooper Sean O'Connell body made the 35-mile trip to a funeral home in Everett.

Tia Kennedy wiped away tears as the body passed. Her dad is also a state trooper. "I think about it all the time, she said. "I mean, if he doesn't come home. It's sad to think about it, but it always goes through my head."

Casey Jones took time out of his Sunday to wait for the procession. "Sometimes they give their lives for us," he said. "I want to show this officer and his family and his extended family the respect they deserve."

Trooper O'Connell was directing traffic on a detour around the Skagit River Bridge collapse in Conway Friday when he was hit by a box truck. A lot of locals are using this detour west of I-5, and he was trying to ease people through. "Everyone I've spoken to since arriving up here loved Sean O'Connell," said State Patrol Chief John Batiste. "We're going to miss him. He was a great trooper and a great individual."

Trooper O'Connell lived in the Lake Stevens area. He worked out of the Marysville patrol office. He had been on the job for 16 years. Friend and fellow Trooper Keith Leary told KING 5 the two worked together for 12 years.

"He liked shiny things," Trooper Leary said. "He polished his boots all the time. He was a stellar trooper. He was trooper of the year. You don't get to be trooper of the year unless you're the best. The guy was incredible."

The truck driver that hit and killed Trooper O'Connell is working with investigators. Drugs and alcohol are not believed to have been factors in the accident.


Chris Sullivan, KIRO Radio Reporter
Chris loves the rush of covering breaking news and works hard to try to make sense of it all while telling stories about real people in extraordinary circumstances.
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