Morris

Off-Duty Officer Killed in Morris Crash Laid to Rest

An off-duty Cook County sheriff's officer killed in a crash after stopping to help a stalled vehicle was laid to rest in a funeral service Monday.

Officer Ronald Prohaska's funeral service was held at the Queen of All Saints Basilica on Chicago's Northwest Side beginning at 10 a.m. Monday. 

"My brother was amazing. He always gave himself no matter what," said his brother Todd Prohaska. 

Prohaska, of Chicago, was killed in a crash in suburban Morris on Aug. 18. He had pulled over just after 4 p.m. on the Illinois River Bridge to assist a vehicle that was disabled on the southbound incline and was working on the engine of the stalled vehicle when a third vehicle struck the car. 

The stalled vehicle burst into flames, and the fire spread to the other two cars, police said. 

Prohaska was airlifted from the scene to be treated for serious injuries but was pronounced dead at Good Samaritan Hospital, police said.

His daughters, ages 7 and 12, were inside the stalled car when he drove to them and assisted with their car troubles. They were both taken to an area hospital after the crash, where they were treated and released. 

The driver of the third vehicle, later identified by police as Matthew Taylor, was cited for failure to reduce speed. 

Prohaska was off-duty and in his personal vehicle at the time of the crash, police said. 

"Our hearts are broken and our deepest condolences to his family and friends," the Cook County Sheriff's office said in a statement. 

Prohaska, 50, began his career with the Cook County sheriff's office as a correctional officer in 1994 and joined the police force in August 2004. He most recently served in the fugitive warrants unit. 

Prohaska’s family told NBC 5 he was a great person who loved his two daughters and went out of the way to help a friend in need.

"He’s the epitome of the type of friend you want in this world," said a longtime friend, Carolyn Giannopolous.

Those closest to him say they want him remembered as a great man, a hero, who always helped others and hope this tragedy serves as a reminder to all drivers.

"It’s not worth it," expressed Giannapoulos. "It’s not worth it, just put down your phones. It’s really not worth it." 

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