Trooper’s funeral Thursday to pack downtown Everett

EVERETT — The public is welcome to attend the funeral for Washington State Patrol trooper Sean O’Connell planned for 1 p.m. Thursday at Comcast Arena in Everett.

The funeral service is expected to last about three hours, patrol spokesman Bob Calkins said Tuesday. Details of the service still were being worked out, including the route the motorcade will follow to and from the arena.

The State Patrol hopes to share additional details Wednesday.

The service will be deeply emotional and ceremonial, Calkins said. A number of speakers are planned. At one point, troopers will add a gold streamer to a Washington State Patrol flag.

Each streamer on the flag represents an officer the agency has lost in the line of duty.

The State Patrol also plans a 21-bell salute in place of the 21-gun salute due to the indoors location, Calkins said.

O’Connell, 38, died last week while on-duty working traffic control in Skagit County related to the Skagit River Bridge collapse. Some legislators want to name the new bridge in his honor.

There will be designated public seating at the funeral, Calkins said.

City officials on Tuesday were making plans to accommodate several thousand expected visitors, including police officers from around the region.

Everett police recommend people park at the 10th Street boat launch, Sgt. Ryan Dalberg said. Everett Transit plans to provide free shuttle service beginning at 10 a.m. Shuttles will run about every 15 minutes until about 1:30 p.m. Return shuttles will begin after the service and end about 5:30 p.m.

Other people riding buses in the city should check the agency’s Facebook account for updates regarding downtown routes.

People should expect road delays and closures, as well as bus route changes, in north Everett for much of Thursday, city officials said. Drivers are asked to avoid the downtown area, especially from 10 a.m. into early evening.

“The downtown core of the city is going to be very, very packed traffic-wise,” Dalberg said. “Walking is going to be your best bet to get around downtown during the ceremony Thursday.”

Drivers also should expect delays on southbound I-5 while the motorcade is in the area. Similar delays are expected in north Everett.

“You’re talking about a dozen blocks that will be impacted in downtown between the procession route and street and lane closures,” city spokeswoman Kate Reardon said Tuesday.

In addition, the rest area on southbound I-5 in Smokey Point is set to be closed from noon Wednesday until 1 p.m. Thursday. The rest area is being used as a staging area for the motorcade.

For more information about arena parking, visit www.comcastarenaeverett.com.

The investigation into the fatal accident involving the trooper also continues, Calkins said Tuesday.

“We will be ready to discuss that at some point after the memorial service,” he said. “We’re going to spend this week grieving.”

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

Donations accepted

People can donate to the O’Connell family through the Washington State Patrol Memorial Foundation, P.O. Box 7544, Olympia, WA 98507. The family is asking folks who want to send flowers to instead donate to the Behind The Badge Foundation or the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

A covered area where flowers and notes can be left in O’Connell’s honor has been set up at the patrol’s regional headquarters at 2700 116th Street NE, Marysville. People are asked not to stop at the collision scene in Skagit County.

The State Patrol asks for Twitter posts about O’Connell to feature the memorial tag #sean1076. The hashtag features O’Connell’s first name and his badge number, which will be retired after his funeral.

Drivers are asked to follow state-sanctioned detours around the I-5 closure in Skagit County. Other roads are not built to handle the congestion and weight of detour traffic.

Anyone who saw the accident or heard anything may call detectives at 360-805-1192 or 360-805-1194.

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