A processional and memorial will be held Thursday in Snohomish County for fallen Washington State Patrol trooper Sean O'Connell. He died last Friday after he was hit by a truck in Conway along the detour route for the I-5 bridge collapse in Skagit County.
The service at Comcast Arena begins at 1 p.m. and is expected to last more than two hours. Among those expected to speak are Gov. Jay Inslee, newly appointed Snohomish County Executive John Lovick, Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste and Francis O'Connell, the trooper's brother.
Those not attending the service in person can watch live on NWCN and online at KING5.com or NWCN.com.
The family says the public can honor Trooper O'Connell's memory by donating to either the National Multiple Sclerosis Society or the Washington State Patrol Memorial Foundation. The address for the WSP foundation is P.O. Box 7544, Olympia, Wash. 98507.
Procession to affect traffic
WSP is warning Snohomish County drivers that the memorial procession will impact the mid-day commute Thursday. Some 500 police vehicles are expected to leave at 11 a.m. from the Smokey Point Rest Stop on southbound Interstate 5 near Exit 207. It will exit I-5 at Everett Avenue. From there the procession will travel on Everett Avenue to Rockefeller Avenue, then turn onto Hewitt Avenue and arrive at Comcast Arena.
The Smokey Point Rest Area on southbound I-5 is closed until 1 p.m. Thursday to gather vehicles for the procession.
Public wishing to view the motorcade can do so from these locations:
- The sidewalks of any overpass between Smokey Point and downtown Everett. Please do not park private vehicles on the overpasses
- 34th Avenue NE north of 116th, which faces the freeway;
- Along Everett Avenue in Everett as the motorcade exits the freeway.
The public is allowed to attend the memorial. Parking will be available at the 10th Street Boat Launch Parking Lot at 10th Street and W. Marine View Drive. Everett Transit will provide a free shuttle service from the parking lot to Comcast Arena approximately every 15 minutes, between 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Return shuttles to the 10th Street Boat Launch will start at 3 p.m. and continue to 5:30 p.m.
Regular bus service in the area will be severely affected.
Colleagues remember O'Connell
John Lovick was appointed Snohomish County Executive this week after five years as sheriff. Before that, he was a trooper for 31 years, retiring as a Sergeant. O'Connell was among the people Lovick supervised and he remembers his friend as a model trooper.
“He wanted to be the best and he wanted to look great,” Lovick said. “Everything from his shoes, bow tie, the gig line on the shirt, the belt buckle, the gun. It all had to be just right. We all just felt good being around him."
Trooper Keith Leary served with O’Connell out of the Marysville post for 10 years. Leary is often the information point of contact for the media, but on Thursday, he spoke from the heart.
"Sean is going to be remembered as the guy with the smile on his face,” Leary said. “He liked everybody. It didn’t matter who you were, good guy or bad guy. He was just a true human being."
KING 5's Travis Pittman and Jake Whittenberg contributed to this report