EVERETT — There was a certain repetition in the words of those who paid tribute this afternoon to Trooper Sean O’Connell at his memorial service.
The Washington State Patrol motorcycle officer, who was killed in an on-duty traffic collisionon Friday, was universally remembered as a devoted family man who was dedicated to his job, bore a contagious smile and cared about everyone with whom he interacted.
But perhaps it was Snohomish County Executive John Lovick, who had been O’Connell’s supervisor at the State Patrol for six years, who summed it up most succinctly when he addressed the trooper’s children.
“Your dad was the nicest man to ever walk the face of this earth,” Lovick said to O’Connell’s 7-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter, who were seated in the front row with their mother, Alissa, at Everett’s Comcast Arena. “He was so proud of you and he loved you so much.”
The two-plus hour memorial service was preceded by a 500-car motorcade and drew close to 2,000 law enforcement officers from the U.S. and Canada and others to the Comcast Arena in Everett.
O’Connell, 38, of Lake Stevens, was patrolling backed-up traffic on a detour around the collapsed Skagit River Bridge over Interstate 5 when he was thrown from his motorcycle in a collision with a box truck and pronounced dead at Skagit Valley Hospital.
The circumstances of the collision, which occurred near Fir Island Road and Greenfield Street, are still under investigation. Fir Island Road had increased traffic because of detours after the May 23 collapse of the Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River. Some lawmakers have suggested naming the rebuilt span in honor of O’Connell.