Circumstances Still Unclear In Deaths Of Illinois Police Officer, Motorist

Exactly how an Illinois police officer and the driver of a pickup truck died during a traffic stop last fall is still unclear, prompting coroner’s inquests in both deaths.

The inquest for Rockford Police Officer Jaimie Cox, 30, is scheduled for Wednesday, January 31. The inquest for 49-year-old Eddie Patterson will convene Friday, February 2. Both will be held in front of six jurors and a court reporter.

Cox and Patterson died in the early hours of November 5, when Cox stopped Patterson’s vehicle. What happened after the traffic stop remains in question. Although Cox radioed for backup, investigators are still unsure how he became entangled in the vehicle and why shots were fired.

An autopsy revealed Patterson died from gunshot wounds reportedly fired from the patrolman’s service weapon. Cox’s death resulted from blunt force trauma and has been ruled a homicide.

And investigation was launched by a joint law-enforcement task force assigned to officer-involved shootings. Forensic test results from that investigation were returned to the Winnebago County Coroner’s Office last week, however, details or which results came back have not been released.

Authorities say it is likely Cox was dragged as the truck traveled at least two blocks from the initial stop before crashing into a tree.

Patterson’s body was found inside the vehicle. Cox was found near the scene of the crash. He died at a local hospital. A camera on a traffic signal captured footage from the stop, but not what transpired when Cox approached the truck.

The incident sparked a barrage of controversy. Early reports indicated that police believed Cox had been shot, but were later corrected. Patterson was unarmed. It was later learned he was driving on a revoked license and the plates on the pickup were registered to another vehicle.

Patterson’s daughter, Telecia Banks, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the City of Rockford on November 17. She is seeking at least $50,000 in damages.

A coroner’s inquest is an inquiry into the cause of a person’s death and is often convened when circumstances are suspicious or unclear.

Cox was an officer with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources before joining the Rockford Police Department in September, 2016. He served in the U.S. Army National Guard.

Eddie Patterson worked for a janitorial firm.