WATERLOO, Ill. – The funeral for St. Louis County police Officer James "Mitch" Ellis was held in Waterloo, Illinois on Monday.
Ellis died earlier this month after being involved in a collision on Highway 159 the night prior. He was 49.
Fox 2 did not shoot video of the funeral at the request of Ellis’ family but Officer James Mullins, a colleague and friend, spoke with us.
“He was a dedicated man. To his job, to his county, and to his family most of all,” Mullins said. “He was a loyal man.”
According to Illinois State Police, Officer Ellis was driving home after his work shift at 11 p.m. on October 11. He was traveling back to Hecker, Illinois near Waterloo when he was hit head-on by a vehicle that was attempting to pass a semi-truck.
“He wouldn't want us standing around grieving about him,” Mullins said. “He would want us to get back to work and serve the community he loved to serve.”
Ellis joined the St. Louis County Police Department in 2011. Prior to that, he served as Marine from 1992-1996 and then again following from 2001 to 2005 following the 9/11 terror attacks.
Ellis is survived by his wife and their five children: a 17-year-old, 13-year-old triplets, and a 9-year-old.
“They're holding up the best they can from what we've experienced in talking to them,” Mullins said. “They're remembering all the good times they had with him. How great he was instead of focusing on their tragic loss.”
Fox 2 reached out to the Illinois State Police for an update on any possible charges. However, the investigation is still pending.
“You don't expect anything like this to happen to somebody so good, who never saw bad in anybody,” Mullins said.
BackStoppers is stepping up to help the family, so if you would like to help, St. Louis County police say the best way is to donate to BackStoppers.