CHICAGO, IL – Illinois State Police (ISP), Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), and Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Lodge 41 officials, today formally designated the I-57 Thornton Blue Island overpass as the Trooper Tony Millison Overpass during a special dedication ceremony at 159th and Pulaski.
Sergeant Anthony “Tony” Millison #4004, was assigned to District Chicago when he was driving Southbound on I-57 responding to an accident on I-80. During the early morning hours of October 27, 1997, Sergeant Millison encountered an icy bridge at the Thornton-Blue Island Road overpass when he lost control of his squad car as it skidded into the bridge wall.
Disregarding his own injuries from the crash, Sergeant Millison exited his vehicle and attempted to assist other motorists experiencing icy and dangerous driving conditions. While cautioning motorists about the hazardous conditions, Sergeant Millison placed himself in harm’s way when a red van spinning out of control approached the bridge. To avoid being struck by the van, Sergeant Millison attempted to climb on to the railing of the bridge, where he lost his grip and slipped over the railing.
Sergeant Millison fell 47 feet, striking the concrete below the overpass bridge. He was later pronounced at St. Francis Hospital in Blue Island.
Sergeant Millison was posthumously promoted to the rank of sergeant immediately following the tragedy in 1997.
Officials from ISP District Chicago, IDOT, and FOP Lodge 41, were present to honor Sergeant Millison and presented his family with a formal 30” X 48” representation of the bridge overpass sign. On behalf of the Millison family, his son, Marcus Millison graciously accepted the honor.
“ISP Troopers place their lives on the line to keep the citizens of Illinois and the roads safe,” said Illinois State Police Director Hiram Grau. “Sergeant Tony Millison is a fine example of the bravery and selflessness displayed by the men and women of the Illinois State Police on a daily basis, and this overpass dedication is a tremendous honor. His family should take comfort in knowing that we will never forget his courage and outstanding service,” he added.
The 42”X 54” Trooper Tony Millison Overpass sign was approved by IDOT as an historic site and was permanently posted on December 14, 2012. The sign is the first overpass bridge sign named in honor of an Illinois State Trooper.
"The tragic loss of Trooper Anthony Millison in late October 1997 reminds all of us of the important and dangerous work done by IDOT and the Illinois State Police as we work together to keep Illinois roads safe," said Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider. "Trooper Millison's loss also reminds us of how hazardous these jobs can be - especially when the roads are dark or icy and covered with snow. When these especially hazardous road conditions occur, we ask the public to recall the sacrifice of Trooper Millison, and to think of their own safety and the safety of the many ISP troopers and IDOT workers who risk their lives to keep the roads safe and clear. Please use common sense, slow down and always think of safety first."
Fundraising efforts through the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 41 successfully supported this project along with the cooperative efforts of ISP Lt. Col. Terry Lemming, who worked with Sergeant Millison in District Chicago.
President Mike Powell of the FOP fondly recalled Sergeant Millison when he served Lodge 41. “Sergeant Millison was a man of honor and integrity and his selfless actions underscore the dangers and dedication of police service,” said Powell.
Sergeant Millison served as the District Chicago Fraternal Order of Police representative and was a faithful member of the Illinois Association of Black Law Enforcement Officer, Minority Officers Coalition and the Illinois Association of Minorities in Government.
Sergeant Millison served bravely in the United States Air Force for 6 years, and worked as a correctional officer at the Metropolitan Correctional Center for 8 years. Sergeant Millison joined the Illinois State Police in 1987, after receiving his bachelor’s degree in 1986 from the University of Chicago.