Trooper Sean O'Connell Jr.
Sean M. O'Connell Jr. was born on September 10, 1974, in West Islip, New York, to Diane Tufaro and Sean O'Connell Sr. He spent his formative years attending Pawling High School in New York before moving to Washington State. O'Connell continued his education by attending Olympic College and the University of Phoenix, earning an Associate of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice.
His life of service to his community and country began with the United States Navy in October 1992. O'Connell served over four years and participated in the liberation of Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm, earning numerous awards and commendations.
After the military, O'Connell's desire to continue to serve led him to the Washington State Patrol. Hired as a trooper cadet on July 15, 1998, O'Connell became a member of the 82nd Trooper Basic Training Class. Trooper O'Connell was commissioned on March 1, 1999, and assigned to Marysville. He joined the Marysville motors unit in May 2012. Trooper O'Connell's tenure with the patrol included being selected as Trooper of the Year in 2003.
Trooper Sean M. O'Connell, Jr., died on May 31, 2013, at the age of 38. The Skagit River Bridge had collapsed just a week prior, creating an increase of traffic on arterial roads being utilized as detours. Trooper O'Connell was riding his motorcycle, checking the length of the back up in Conway in the area of Fir Island Road and Greenfield Street when he was struck and killed by a box truck. At the time of his death, Trooper O'Connell had served almost 15 years with the Washington State Patrol.
Trooper O'Connell's wife, Alissa, lives in Snohomish with their two children, Kian (age 16) and Miley (age 14). His father, Sean O'Connell, Sr., and step-mom, Rita, split their time between their homes in New York and Florida. Sean's mother, Diane Tufaro and her spouse, Carole, are building a home in Connecticut and will split their time between there and Florida. Sean's brother Francis and his family live in Arlington, Virginia. Sean has two younger sisters. Julia, graduated from Stony Brook University in New York and is attending Ross University, School of Veterinary Medicine. Lauren graduated from Siena College in Loudonville, New York, last year. She has accepted a position with Glumac/Tretra Tech Engineering Firm in Seattle. Their mother, Loretta O'Hara, who was also Sean's mom as he was growing up, lives in Pawling, New York. Sean's grandmother, Virginia, lives in Massapequa, New York and will turn 96 in September.
On December 6, 2013, the new Skagit River Bridge was named in honor of fallen Trooper Sean M. O'Connell, Jr.
On May 30, 2014, a dedication ceremony of the memorial to honor and remember Trooper Sean M. O'Connell, Jr., was held at the Marysville District Office. When you visit the Marysville District Office, take a moment to stop by the beautiful memorial that was created in remembrance of Trooper O'Connell.
In May of 2014, Trooper O'Connell was awarded the Medal of Honor, posthumously, for his actions on May 31, 2013, by the Law Enforcement – Medal of Honor Committee.
A Memorial dedicated to Trooper Sean M O'Connell Jr., located at the Marysville District Office.
The Skagit River Bridge was dedicated to Trooper Sean M O'Connell Jr. on December 6, 2013.
On Friday, April 16, 2021, a bench was added to the memorial in Lake Stevens, honoring Trooper Sean O'Connell.