A public funeral is under way in Everett 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 hearse carrying O'Connell's body arrived at Comcast Arena in Everett at about 11:45 a.m. following a procession involving some 500 police vehicles from around the country and Canada.
The service at Comcast Arena began at 1 p.m. and is expected to last nearly three 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.
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
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