Hundreds mourn Illinois State Trooper Chris Lambert, who was fatally struck in Northbrook

SOUTH BARRINGTON, Ill. (WLS) -- Hundreds of mourners packed into Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington to pay their respects to Illinois State Police Trooper Christopher Lambert Friday.

The 34-year-old was killed while responding to a crash on the Tri-State Tollway last week.

"We lost a family member," said Illinois State Police Director Leo Schmitz. "We lost a friend. He was a troopers' trooper."



Lambert, 34, was headed home to Highland Park last Saturday when he stopped to investigate a three-vehicle crash on the northbound lanes of I-294 near Willow Road in Northbrook. He stopped to position his vehicle on the left-hand lane to protect those involved in the crash. He was standing outside of his vehicle when he was struck by an oncoming motorist.

"He saw danger coming, and yet, he pulled over," Schmitz said.



The young father never made it home to his 1-year-old daughter or wife. Family members received a devastating phone call.

"We heard about it on Saturday, shortly after it happened," said family member Michael Burke.

Burke served as a pallbearer at Lambert's funeral.

"It was very difficult," Burke said. "My girls loves Chris very much. I have three daughters and Chris was their big jungle gym."

RELATED: Trooper killed in I-294 crash in Northbrook

Trooper Lambert was with the Illinois State Police Department for five years. Lambert was also an Army veteran.

"Old school Army," said Officer Miguel Rodriguez of the Las Vegas Police Department. "All about the job. All about working hard."

Lambert was Miguel Rodriguez's Army sergeant.

"But he was all about friendship off duty and a great friend," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez didn't hesitate to make the trip to South Barrington to support the thin blue line.

"Even though it was a different department and a different state, everybody feels it," Officer Rodriguez said.

RELATED: Illinois State Police mourn trooper fatally struck on I-294 in Northbrook

Dozens of law enforcement officials from across the country who face this risk every day traveled to Willow Creek Community Church to pay their respects. Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson led a delegation from his department.

As family members said goodbye, they were thankful for the immense community support.

"It is amazing to see the support," Burke said. "It shows how important the troopers are."

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker spoke at the funeral and thanked the community for coming together to pay tribute to Lambert. The governor also praised Lambert's courage.

"We too often overlook the heroism of the quiet moments of kindness in the willingness of one man to stop his car on a dark and snowy night because someone might need his help," Pritzker said. "This simple act of selflessness is just one small measure of who our Illinois State Police troopers are."

ISP Director Schmitz said Lambert will be memorialized in Springfield and in Washington as a tribute to his heroism.

No one has been charged in the crash. The driver of the vehicle that hit Lambert stopped and was cooperating with police, authorities said.
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