James Koch

A Cook County Sheriff’s police officer whose life was saved by two Riverside police officers following a 2017 crash on Harlem Avenue in Bridgeview was killed on March 30 in a high-speed crash in Chicago Ridge.

James Koch, who was an electronic monitoring investigator for the Cook County Sheriff, was killed shortly after midnight when a 2015 Nissan, allegedly driven at a high rate of speed by a 16-year-old without a license, slammed into Koch’s 2002 Chevy in the 10100 block of Virginia Avenue.

The juvenile, according to a Chicago Ridge police press release, was charged with reckless homicide and cited for traffic offenses.

The Cook County Sheriff’s Department in a statement on its official Facebook page said Koch, 51, had been employed with the department for 28 years.

“He was an incredible colleague and friend to so many,” the statement read. “Our hearts are broken for his family, his friends, and all who were fortunate enough to know him.”

On July 14, 2017, Koch was the victim in another crash at the intersection of Harlem Avenue and 73rd Street in Bridgeview, according to Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel.

At about 9:40 a.m. that day, Koch was perched atop his motorcycle waiting for a traffic light to change when a BMW struck the motorcycle, critically injuring Koch, who suffered a compound fracture of his arm and was bleeding profusely from his head.

A pair of Riverside police detectives, Leo Kotor and James Lazansky, were sitting in an unmarked squad car at the same traffic light at the time. The two were on their way back to Riverside, transporting prisoners they’d picked up in the south suburbs.

Seeing the crash, they pulled the squad car into the intersection to block traffic, grabbed a bag of medical supplies and rushed to Koch. They placed a tourniquet on his right arm and bandaged his head, caring for him until paramedics arrived.

Bob Uphues