Patrol spokesman Capt. Chris Ricks said Cpl. John A. "Jay" Sampietro Jr. was struck while doing an accident reconstruction report at the scene of a Monday night crash that killed two adults and two children from Indianapolis. They were in a car that was hit by a tractor-trailer that crossed the median on I-44.
Sampietro was taken to Cox South Hospital in Springfield, where he died Wednesday.
The patrol said the Memphis, Tenn., native graduated from Sikeston Senior High School in 1987. While in high school he served as a cadet with the Sikeston Department of Public Safety and in February 1989 was hired by DPS as a dispatcher. In July 1990, Sampietro was appointed a Public Safety officer working in that capacity until he joined the Patrol in January 1992 when he was assigned to Troop E in Poplar Bluff.
"Jay was a great officer and a tremendous asset to the city of Sikeston and was a shining example of what an officer should be while with DPS," said Capt. Mark Crocker with Sikeston DPS. "It was a tremendous loss to Sikeston when he left to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming a Missouri State Highway Patrolman."
According to Crocker, even after Sampietro began employment with the Patrol, his dedication to his hometown continued. With the Patrol's permission, Sampietro requested and was hired by DPS as a part-time firefighter while stationed in the Troop E area.
Sampietro earned an associate's of science degree from Mineral Area College in Flat River. In March 2003, he transferred to Troop D, Springfield. In addition to his road duties, Sampietro was a pilot assigned to Troop D Headquarters.
Sampietro leaves behind a wife, who is a radio operator for the Patrol's Troop D, and two sons, ages 4 and 10 months.
"It's hard to find the type of dedication that Jay displayed," added Crocker. "When you find that in someone like Jay, it is something that everyone can appreciate and hopefully try to emulate in their daily performance as an officer. Jay always had a smile on his face and was ready with a helping hand anytime anyone was in need. Our hearts and prayers go out to Jennifer and his two sons."
Sampietro is the third Missouri patrol member to die in the line of duty this year, the patrol said.
Gov. Matt Blunt has ordered all flags at state facilities in Missouri be flown at half-staff to honor the memory of the officer. Flays will remain at half-staff until dusk on the evening of his funeral services.
The patrol has started a memorial fund for Sampietro's family at the Guaranty Bank, 1341 West Battlefield, Springfield, MO, 65807. The Guaranty Bank may be reached at (417) 520-4333.