A Utah Highway Patrol trooper who was killed in the line of duty, was remembered Wednesday as a hero, dedicated husband and father, and devoted law enforcement officer.
The funeral services for Eric Ellsworth were held in the Dee Event Center, on the campus of Weber State University. The 32-year-old Brigham City man died a week ago, five-days after being struck by a car while responding to a call about a down power line in Box Elder County.
Utah Governor Gary Herbert spoke during the service that was attended by family, friends and law enforcement officers from around the country. He said Ellsworth paid the ultimate sacrifice, while protecting his friends.
“Eric truly does represent the very best that society has to offer,” praised Herbert. “He’s a hero, a hometown hero, one that we all ought to try and emulate in our own walk of life, and see if we can in fact do the same kinds of things that he did in giving service to his fellowman.
Governor Herbert had previously ordered all U.S. and state flags be lowered to half-mast throughout Utah in honor of Ellsworth.
UHP Sgt. Shane Nebeker, who supervises Box Elder County, emotionally described how he and other coworkers remember Ellsworth’s love for his family.
“He loved to talk about his boys and trouble they might have gotten into,” said Nebeker. “He’d smile, when he would talk about wrestling and rolling around with them. Eric didn’t ask for time off for himself or his hobbies, he always asked for time off to be with his family.”
On November 18, Ellsworth was responding to a downed power line along SR-13 near Garland City. While out of his patrol car directing traffic, he was struck by a car, driven by a 16-year-old girl. He sustained severe injuries and was transported by helicopter to Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, where he later passed away.
During the funeral, Ellsworth’s wife of 10-years and mother of their three sons, Janica said she never doubted the love her husband had for her, and knew she was the most important part of his life.
“It’s hard to believe you were taken away from us,” said Janica Ellsworth, about her husband. “I know your biggest fear about being a police officer, was the possibility of leaving me and the boys behind. Your boys, they adore you and I know you loved them with every fiber of your being.”
Following the service, a procession of troopers and others transported Ellsworth’s casket to the Brigham City Cemetery.
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