Lake Stevens to rename street in late trooper’s honor

LAKE STEVENS — The city of Lake Stevens is naming a street in honor of Sean O’Connell, a local Washington State Patrol trooper who died in the line of duty in May.

City Councilman-elect Sam Low brought the idea forward in June. He lives near the trooper’s family.

Low knew the city honored its war dead with a memorial downtown. He wanted to find a way to recognize others who die while serving the public, he said.

Lake Stevens hadn’t in recent memory named a street in somebody’s honor, so it took the council awhile to make a plan, City Administrator Jan Berg said.

“The community’s been very supportive, and the council has been very supportive of the idea,” she said.

In September, the council passed a unanimous resolution allowing Lake Stevens to use honorary street designations. The city has ordered the signs. They plan a public ceremony when the signs arrive, Berg said.

Low’s wife, Mariah, works as a forensic scientist for the State Patrol. Low had seen O’Connell before in town. Low and his wife rode in the trooper’s funeral motorcade.

The experience made Low think about “those who served their community and gave their life for serving their community,” he said.

They chose 83rd Avenue SE, a street everyone in the neighborhood crosses to go to work or school.

“It just seemed like the right spot,” Low said. “It’s a place where the community will be able to see recognition of Sean and be able to have a place to remember somebody who gave his life for our community.”

The street also will keep its original name, Berg said. That’s to avoid confusion, especially for emergency responders and delivery services.

O’Connell, a 38-year-old motorcycle trooper, was killed in a collision May 31 while working traffic control related to the Skagit River bridge collapse. The collision investigation is ongoing.

In September, fellow motorcycle troopers escorted O’Connell’s children as they rode the bus to their first day of school.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com.

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