Photo courtesy of Illinois State Police.

Photo courtesy of Illinois State Police.

An Illinois trooper died after a big rig struck his patrol car late Thursday causing the two vehicles to burst into flames.

Trooper James Sauter, 28, was in his patrol car at the time on Interstate 294 heading south near Willow Road in Downer's Grove.

"Trooper Sauter left a legacy of courage, honor and duty," State Police Director Hiram Grau said in a statement. "Our hearts are heavy with grief, but they are also strengthened by Trooper Sauter’s brave calling and dedicated service to ISP."

Sauter was assigned to District 15, a post he recently joined after completing an assignment in the Air Operations unit. He has served the agency since 2008. Sauter is survived by his wife Elizabeth.

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