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Sergeant John H. Kugelman | Illinois State Police, Illinois Illinois State Police, Illinois

Sergeant

John H. Kugelman

Illinois State Police, Illinois

End of Watch: Monday, November 10, 1986

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 27

Tour: 3 years

Badge # 3065

Military veteran

Cause: Vehicular assault

Weapon: Automobile

Offender: Paroled in 2002

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Sergeant John Kugelman was killed in a vehicle crash while assisting another agency with a vehicle pursuit at the interchange of I-290 and I-355 in Itasca.

Officers from the Hoffman Estates Police Department were attempting to stop a car speeding within their city limits. The driver fled, leading to a chase at speeds in excess of 80 miles per hour. Sergeant John Kugelman monitored the chase on the radio and positioned himself ahead of it. Sergeant Kugelman stepped onto the road and pulled his service revolver in an attempt to deter the speeding car, but the driver made no attempt to swerve or slow down. Sergeant Kugelman was struck and thrown 20 feet into the air.

He was flown to Loyola University Medical Center, in Maywood, where he was pronounced dead.

The driver was pulled over by a rolling roadblock approximately two miles from where Sergeant Kugelman was struck. Officers then learned the 17-year-old was wanted on a warrant for violating the terms of his temporary release from the Illinois Department of Corrections. He was tried on three counts of murder and one count of reckless homicide. He was subsequently sentenced to 32 years. He was paroled in 2002 after serving less than half of his sentence.

Sergeant Kugelman had served with the Illinois State Police for three years and had previously served as a military police officer. On July 30th, 1987, the District 2 Headquarters in Elgin was rededicated in honor of Sergeant Kugelman. He was posthumously promoted to the rank of Sergeant.

He is survived by his wife, parents, sister and nephew.

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Dear John,

For several years now I have been passing your sign on I-290 on my way to work. I've always wanted to know who you were and why your name was on the sign, but I never took the time to find out until now. I wish I had earlier. I'm an Army man myself and I know the commitment to brotherhood and service above self. I know that you know the Warrior Ethos just as well as I do, and I could hear those words echo through my head as I read your story. I wasn't even alive when you squared off with death, but even so, I can see you standing in front of the driver, gun drawn, and never for a moment regretting the path you took or the decision you made. The word "hero" is tossed around a lot in today's time, but, to me, you exemplify it. Thank you for protecting the people, placing our lives above your own, and making the ultimate sacrifice for us. I know I will never forget your story. I don't know if you were a religious man or not, but I want to close my reflection with what I think is one of the most powerful Bible verses:

John 15:13
Greater love hath no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Rest easy, Brother.

Anonymous
July 5, 2017

 

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