Missouri Highway Patrol honors troopers killed in the line of duty with new monument

Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 11:53 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 13, 2021 at 7:40 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Retired Missouri Highway Patrol troopers led a push to honor five Missouri Highway Patrol troopers from Troop D killed in the line of duty.

The Missouri Highway Patrol dedicated the monument Wednesday. The monument sits on the lawn of Troop D headquarters on Kearney Street in Springfield.

While 31 troopers statewide have paid the ultimate sacrifice, this monument honors the five highway patrol officers who lost their lives in the 18 county area of southwest Missouri that Troop D covers.

Retired Trooper Terry Moore worked on this project for three years trying to raise $20,000. Private donations by retired personnel within the highway patrol helped pay for the monument.

“We had 111 pledged donations from retirees,” Moore said. “I think that speaks well for the bond and the spirit that is represented by these people.”

The monument honors:

Trooper Victor Dosing died from a gunshot wound in 1941 while trying to arrest a murder suspect in Greene County. Trooper Charles Corbin died in a patrol car crash in 1943 in Jasper County. Trooper Jimmie Linegar died from a gunshot wound while he was conducting a safety spot check-in 1985 in Taney County. Trooper Russell Harper died after he was shot during a traffic stop in 1987 in Greene County. The most recent was Corporal John “Jay” Sampietro. He died after he was struck by a passing vehicle while working a traffic crash in 2005 in Webster County.

“The highway patrol has always been family to us,” said Jan Copeland, who was in attendance at the ceremony along with her sister Vicki to honor their father, Trooper Victor Dosing. Vicki wasn’t even born yet when her father died in 1941 and Jan was only two years old.

“I always missed my dad,” Jan said. “I wished I had a dad.”

Michael Linegar was only three-years-old when his father Jimmie Linegar was shot and killed in Taney County in 1985.

Michael decided to follow in his father’s footsteps by becoming a trooper himself and has been with the Missouri Highway Patrol for 16 years.

When asked if he ever felt resentment in growing up without a father, Michael said his faith and church upbringing helped him deal with the hard times.

“Obviously there can always be a certain degree of anger and you can let it take over your life,” he answered. “But I decided I wasn’t going to do that. I couldn’t live my life based on fear and anger and living my life that way.”

In talking about making his choice to follow his father into law enforcement work, Michael admitted that it wasn’t his first career choice.

“I went down a lot of different paths and tried a lot of different things but it never really clicked,” he said. “Finally God led me to this position and I had a lot of long talks with my mother. She gave me her blessing and I decided this was where I was being led to.”

While all the deaths are heart-wrenching, Jennifer Sampietro had one of the more emotional stories relayed to the crowd at the monument dedication. When her husband, Corporal John “Jay” Sampietro, died after being struck by an SUV while working an accident in Webster County, Jennifer was also working for the highway patrol and got the shocking news firsthand.

“I was his communications officer the day of the accident,” Jennifer said. “It was just very devastating.”

But she used her grief to get Missouri’s Move Over Law expanded. That law requires drivers to change lanes if possible and slow down when they come upon emergency vehicles pulled over on the road.

“The law that we got passed and got more penalties for has definitely made people more aware of the need to pull over and slow down,” Jennifer said. “Act like it’s your mother, father, husband, wife or child out there on the side of the road.”

In her case it was.

That’s why the memorial is a reminder of lives lost and families changed forever.

“It was tough,” said Jay’s father, John Sampietro Sr., as he put his arm around his daughter-in-law after the ceremony. “You never get over it. But these things (the monument) and her (Jennifer) make it special.”

“It’s important to these families,” Moore added. “But it’s meaningful to have something so that those who might not ordinarily spend five seconds thinking about the sacrifices that have been made, might do so if they walk up to Troop D and see this monument.”

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