Today, we join the rest of the state in mourning the loss of Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Eric Ellsworth, who died Nov. 22, four days after being struck by a vehicle while responding to a problem with a power line. He is the second law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty in Utah this month and the third this year.
Ellsworth’s death is an unfortunate reminder of the sacrifices that public safety officers and their families make to keep us safe. It should also remind us that while traffic accidents are a daily occurrence, Utah drivers need to be alert and move over when emergency vehicles are on the side of the road.
We express our sincere and heartfelt gratitude to all the men and women in uniform who serve daily and risk their own lives to protect the people of Utah.
Ellsworth followed his father in becoming a UHP trooper. He was an Eagle Scout and served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He was married to his high school sweetheart, Janica, for 10 years and they have three young boys, Bennett, Ian and Oliver. He served in the UHP for seven years, the last five in northern Utah.
“(Eric) served with distinction,” said Keith Squires, Department of Public Safety commissioner. “You couldn’t ask for a better representative of the Utah Highway Patrol.”
Also affected by the accident is the 16-year-old female driver of the vehicle that struck Ellsworth. His family made it clear that they do not hold any ill will toward the teen.
“This accident greatly affected the life of a young lady,” said Jason Moyes, one of Ellsworth’s brothers-in-law, in a prepared statement. “Collectively as a family, we want this young lady to know of our love for her. Our prayers have been there for you and your family. … You will continue to be in our thoughts and prayers.”
The community has rallied around the Ellsworth family. Brigham City has surrounded Ellsworth’s home with flags and local restaurants brought food for his family. Others stood at overpasses on short notice to honor Ellsworth and wave American flags as his body was taken to the mortuary. We commend those who have worked to help the Ellsworth family during this difficult time.
It is especially important during this busy time of holiday travel and inclement weather when driving conditions can be dangerous for drivers to slow down and be alert to public safety officers on the side of the road. One way to honor Ellsworth’s sacrifice is to prevent any further injuries or death to highway patrol troopers as they serve us and keep Utah safe.