Funeral held for FHP trooper killed in weekend crash on I-75
By Jackie Orozco, Reporter
OCALA, Fla. (WOGX FOX 51) -
The funeral for a Florida Highway Patrol trooper who was killed in a crash on Interstate 75 this past weekend was held at First Baptist Church of Ocala on Thursday.
Friends and colleagues remembered Trooper Chelsea Richard as a woman who enforced the law and a devoted fiancée.
"She chose the life of public service, because she wanted to make a difference," said FHP Director Colonel David Brierton.
Richard, 30, was also remembered as a loving mother to her 4-year-old son.
"He will know his mother was a great woman and a hero and would never leave him, if she had any choice," said Chelsea's father, Bruce Richard. "Grab your children and tell them how much you love them, and how you're proud of them before it's too late."
Richard had been with the highway patrol for nine years. She moved from New York in the summer of 2005 to join the FHP. Last Saturday, May 3, was the last day she would wear her uniform.
"Chelsea is the perfect example that there's no such thing as a routine traffic stop. It can turn deadly in a blink of an eye," said Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.
Earlier this week, the FHP released preliminary findings of an investigation into the deadly crash which killed Richard and also took the lives of two others. Investigators say the driver of a sports utility vehicle applied brakes "abruptly" to avoid hitting traffic already stopped for another crash on Saturday afternoon. The SUV was then sideswiped by a pickup truck, which went into the median where Richard, 57-year-old John Duggan and 55-year-old George Phillips were standing. Richard and Duggan died at the scene. Phillips died hours later.
The chaplain asked all the troopers who worked with Richard to write down all their loving memories of her, because they want to compile a book and give it to her son when he is older.
Detectives have said it may take months to wrap up the crash investigation. So far, no charges have been filed.