FARMER CITY — A section of Interstate 74 near Farmer City will be known as the Trooper Ryan Albin Memorial Highway to honor the state trooper, who was killed in a traffic accident in the area last year.
The Illinois State Senate has unanimously approved legislation to designate Interstate 74 from mile post 155 to 160 in his honor. Albin, who was born in Urbana, grew up near Bellflower and graduated from Blue Ridge High School in Farmer City, died from injuries suffered in a two-vehicle crash June 28, 2017 near mile marker 156. The Farmer City exit is located at mile marker 159.
He was on duty at the time.
“The number of trooper Albin’s friends who called me asking for this legislation has been absolutely incredible,” said Senator Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, who sponsored the legislation.
Signage will be placed along the interstate honoring Albin.
“This highway signage is a true reminder of how proud he was to be a trooper,” said Albin’s sister, Rachelle Swartz. “I am learning just what an amazing trooper he really was. Always wanting to stop the bad guys and lending a hand to those in need. He did it with a willingness that you don’t see often. Being a trooper was always his goal and his passion.
"Although the rarely spoke about what he did, he missed many family functions because the bad weather, a crash scene or a drug stop pulled him out to do the job he loved."
Albin's mother, Rebecca, said the family was pleased with the news.
“Ryan's family is thankful for this designated honor and amazing tribute to Ryan," she said. "We are grateful to everyone.”
“I didn’t know trooper Albin, but considering what everyone who did know (him) has told me about him, he must have been one heck of a guy,” Rose said in introducing the legislation this week. "This is the least we can do to honor his family and his commitment to the citizens of Illinois.”
The legislation was first introduced into the House and was adopted by a unanimous vote on May 8.
"Trooper Albin was a hero who bravely served the people of Illinois for nearly 12 years," said State Rep. Bill Mitchell, R-Forsyth. "Naming this stretch of I-74 in trooper Albin's honor is a fitting tribute to a man who gave his life in the line of duty, serving his community, and the State of Illinois."
According to an Illinois State Police crash report released in November, Albin was westbound in a 2016 Ford state police vehicle at 3:08 p.m. near mile marker 156 in DeWitt County. The report says Albin was driving in the left lane. A second vehicle, identified as a 2014 box van, driven by a 47-year-old Normal man, "was slowed in traffic in the left lane at around the same time as the squad car" that "failed to reduce speed and rear-ended" the truck, the report states.