Motorcade for fallen trooper winds down I-5 to Everett

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. -- A motorcade for Sean O'Connell, the 38-year-old Washington State Patrol motorcycle trooper killed Friday evening in an accident, proceeded from Skagit Valley Hospital in Mount Vernon to Everett on Sunday.

Law enforcement officials from around the state accompanied a hearse carrying the body during the procession to Solie Funeral Home in Everett.

Funeral arrangements are expected to be announced on Monday, the State Patrol said. A memorial service will be open to the public.

O'Connell was directing traffic on his motorcycle about 5:45 p.m. Friday assisting with a detour around the Skagit River Bridge collapse.

That's when he was hit by a box truck near Fir Island Road and Main Street in Conway, according to State Patrol Chief John Batiste.

O'Connell, 38, was taken to Skagit Valley Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.

"He was helping people get from point A to point B," Batiste said. "Out simply doing his job, doing something that he loved very much."

Troopers say the truck driver, a 49-year old man from Mount Vernon, is cooperating with the investigation and had no signs of impairment.

"We have no indication that this is anything other than a tragic accident," Batiste said.

Delmond Harden,a motorcycle rider, said, "For something so tragic to happen, it breaks my heart."
"We honor this fallen trooper," Harden said. "We honor him by respecting the law. by respecting what he was out here doing. He's out here for our protection. for our safety. Let's just be careful, let's be careful. Let's be careful out here."

O'Connell, who was a 16-year veteran of the State Patrol, had previously been named Trooper of the Year for his district, Batiste said.

"When it's someone you've known for years that you've respected and just a great personality. it makes it pretty difficult," trooper Mark Francis said.

O'Connell is only the second trooper to be killed in the line of duty since 1999, and the first since trooper Tony Radulescu was gunned down in February 2012.

A Navy veteran, O'Connell is survived by his wife and two children, ages 5- and 7-years old, according to Batiste.

Members of the public wishing to leave flowers or other memorabilia in honor of trooper O'Connell may do so at the Patrol's District Headquarters at 2700 116th St. NE, Marysville. Take exit 202 from I-5 and go west.