I-55 sections named for fallen troopers

Friday, July 12, 2002

FROEMSDORF MEMORIALIZED

By Marc Powers ~ Southeast Missourian

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Surrounded by the families of four state troopers killed in the line of duty, Gov. Bob Holden on Thursday signed a bill into law designating sections of southern Missouri roadways in their memory.

Teri Armistead, whose father was murdered during a traffic stop on March 2, 1985, said her family was moved the state was choosing to honor his memory by naming a six-mile stretch of Interstate 55 in Perry County the Trooper James M. Froemsdorf Memorial Highway.

"I think it's quite an honor to my family and also to my father that they are doing this for him," Armistead said.

She was joined at the signing ceremony by her 1-year-old daughter, Savannah, and husband Joe Armistead, who graduated from the Missouri State Highway Patrol Academy in April.

Coincidentally, Holden signed the bill on the one-year anniversary of the execution of Froemsdorf's killer.

Other fallen troopers remembered in the bill include:

  • Sgt. Robert A. Guilliams, who died in a traffic crash on Feb. 16, 2001, in Pemiscot County while responding to an earlier accident. The I-55 bridge where he died, 16 miles north of the Arkansas line, will bear his name.

  • Sgt. Randy V. Sullivan, who was killed in accident near Fredericktown on Feb. 17, 1996, while attempting to pursue a speeding vehicle. A section of Highway 72 in Madison and Iron counties will be named after him.

  • Trooper Kelly L. Poynter, who was struck and killed by a drunken driver on Jan. 18, 2002, while working an accident near Houston, Mo. A portion of Highway 63 in Texas County will be memorialized in his honor.

    Guilliams' daughter Ashton, 11, quietly thanked Holden for signing the bill. She was joined by her brother Justin, 9, and mother Paula Guilliams Chism, who has since remarried.

    "I think acknowledges his existence and how he loved the state of Missouri," Chism said, adding that the family is also thankful the state has repaired the section of I-55 where her first husband died.

    Several Southeast Missouri lawmakers, including state Reps. Pat Naeger, R-Perryville; Denny Merideth, D-Caruthersville; and Don Koller, D-Summersville; and state Sen. Bill Foster, R-Poplar Bluff, were among the bill's key sponsors in the General Assembly.

    "It's always an honor to recognize people who lay down their lives to protect our lives," Foster said.

    The bill is HB 1141.

    mpowers@semissourian.com

    (573) 635-4608

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