Police Officer Scot Fitzgerald South Jacksonville Police Department, Illinois End of Watch: Friday, March 4, 2016

web1_Scot-police-fatality-web-1South Jacksonville Police Department, Illinois

Police Officer Scot Fitzgerald

South Jacksonville Police Department, Illinois
End of Watch: Friday, March 4, 2016

Biographical Info

Age: 32
Tour of Duty: 1 year, 5 months
Badge Number: Not available

Incident Details

Cause of Death: Automobile accident
Date of Incident: March 4, 2016
Weapon Used: Not available
Suspect Info: Not available

Agency Contact Information

Police Chief Joshua Hallock
South Jacksonville Police Department
301 Dewey Drive
South Jacksonville, IL 62650
Phone: (217) 245-4803

Police Officer Scot Fitzgerald was killed when his patrol car and an ambulance collided while en route to a medical call shortly before 9:00 pm.
The ambulance was driving behind his patrol on Route 267, approximately one mile north of Nortonville Road, as they attempted to locate the address for the call. Officer Fitzgerald pulled to the right shoulder and then attempted to make a U-turn, but inadvertently pulled into the path of the ambulance.
He and the three EMTs in the ambulance were transported to area hospitals. Officer Fitzgerald succumbed to his injuries at the hospital.
Officer Fitzgerald had served with the South Jacksonville Police Department for 17 months.

Friends remember Scot Fitzgerald for his kindness, generosity and love for family and community.

But his friends and colleagues are now in shock and mourning as they struggle to deal with the death of Fitzgerald, who died in the line of duty, trying to help someone in need.

Fitzgerald, a 32-year-old South Jacksonville police officer, died early Saturday morning from injuries suffered when his squad car was struck by an ambulance Friday night.

“Scot would do anything for anybody,” Woodson Marshal Gary Marlow said. “Like a lot of us, he was involved in a lot of things. He was a police officer, a firefighter and an [emergency medical technician]. He did whatever he could for his community and anybody in the community, or anybody that needed assistance.”

Fitzgerald had served as a full-time South Jacksonville police officer since Nov. 10, 2014. Prior to that appointment, he worked part time for the South Jacksonville and Winchester police departments and the Scott County Sheriff’s Department and served as Murrayville police chief.

“He was a great officer and knew his job well,” said Scott County sheriff’s deputy Bob Smith, as he struggled to contain his emotions. “He was definitely someone you could count on if you needed help. He loved his family and talked about them a lot.” Fitzgerald leaves behind a wife and two young children.

Former South Jacksonville Police Chief Richard Evans echoed Smith’s feelings about Fitzgerald.

“I think he was a fine officer in a career that he enjoyed,” Evans said. “He loved helping people and working with several different communities with their police, fire and EMS. Without a doubt, he will be missed.”

After the accident, Fitzgerald was taken to Passavant Area Hospital and later transferred to Memorial Medical Center in Springfield, where he died.

A state police report said Fitzgerald was responding to an emergency medical call south of South Jacksonville about 8:50 p.m. Friday when he attempted to make a U-turn on Illinois Route 267 and his squad car was struck in the driver’s side by a Lifestar ambulance driven by Brady S. Milnes, 21, of Roodhouse, who was following Fitzgerald.

The report said that prior to the accident, Fitzgerald had driven onto the west shoulder of the highway when he couldn’t find the location of the call. He then began to turn around and his squad car was hit.

Milnes and two passengers in the ambulance — Christopher Barfield, 44, of White Hall and Stacey Reyes, 40, of Beardstown — also were taken to Passavant for treatment of minor injuries, according to the state police report.

The accident occurred on the railroad overpass on Illinois Route 267, about a mile north of Nortonville Road.

Teresa Wilson of rural Murrayville, who served with Fitzgerald as an EMT with the Murrayville-Woodson Emergency Ambulance Service, remembered Fitzgerald helping with her EMT training and for being “an awesome family man.”

“When I was in EMT training, Scot took all of the students on a ride in the ambulance to experience the ride as a patient,” Wilson said. “He took every corner and hill as fast as he safely could in order for us to experience what it feels like for a patient.”

Fighting through tears, close friend Jim Van Giesen of Murrayville said Fitzgerald did his job “the way it was supposed to be done.”

“He saved a woman’s life several years ago when she was mauled by a dog,” Van Giesen said. “He knew the right medical procedures to do to save her life. He was very professional and took his job seriously.”

He added that he knows the South Jacksonville and Murrayville communities stand ready to help Fitzgerald’s family.

“The Murrayville community will be there for the Fitzgerald family as they struggle through this terrible time in their lives,” Van Giesen said. “The family needs to know that Murrayville and the surrounding communities, including South Jacksonville, are going to be there for them.”

South Jacksonville Village Clerk Dani Glascock summed up the thoughts and feelings of many who knew Fitzgerald.

“I don’t know of anyone who didn’t love Scot,” she said. “He was amazing. Our hearts are broken. South Jacksonville people are so strong, especially our police officers and firefighters, and now that strength will show as we mourn our friend and hero.”

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