(KSDK) — The Cahokia Police Department is mourning the death of Officer Jeremy Chambers, the first Cahokia officer to die in the line of duty. Chambers was on patrol early Tuesday morning when he was hit head-on by a suspected drunk driver.
Fellow officers and firefighters placed a cross where the crash happened on Route 3 near Queeny Avenue. Volunteer firefighter Dwayne Kenner said, "This is what he loved to do. This is what he lived for and that's what made him such a good cop."
Kenner was one of the responders to the crash. He was shocked when he realized it was his childhood friend who was trapped in the overturned patrol car, but had to quickly push aside his emotions. He said, "If you let your emotions take over, you're just hurting him more."
Those who knew 26 year old Jeremy Chambers said he was also a good firefighter as well, because he cared about people, even as far away as New York during 9/11. Volunteer firefighter John Nowak said, "The planes were still falling out of the sky and he was already on the phone saying, hey, when are we leaving?"
Rescuers from Med Star Ambulance also had to hold back their emotions because Chambers worked with them before he became an officer two-and-a-half years ago. His fiancee, who also works at MedStar, went to the scene.
Those who knew Chambers praised him. But one woman who barely knew him had just as strong a testament. She brought one of the flower bouquets to the scene because Officer Chambers responded to her house when she called police for help.
Officer Chris McGinnis said, "Not a lot of people will remember us when we come to their house, so it's pretty special when a citizen remembers you when they come to your house."
Jeremy Chambers followed in the footsteps of his older brother and father. His brother is an officer with the St. Louis County Police, and his father retired as a captain with the Cahokia police department.
The Illinois State Police is investigating the crash. Charges against the wrong way driver are expected to be filed Tuesday.