An outpouring of support for a fallen trooper
Sparta was awash in blue Monday, April 17 as hundreds of law enforcement personnel from around the country converged on the city to pay their respects to a 34-year old Wisconsin State Trooper from Tomah killed in a car crash last week.
More than 1,400 officers from at least a dozen different states from as far away as California attended the funeral of Anthony J. Borostowski, who was on duty when he apparently lost control of his cruiser, travelled off the interstate and hit a tree on I 90/94 in Sauk County near Wisconsin Dells Tuesday, April 11.
Between 650 and 700 squad cars formed the hour-long procession that wound its way through Sparta as night fell Monday.
Among the mourners was Wisconsin State Trooper Lt. Daniel Gruebele who operates out of the Fond du Lac office.
He's been in law enforcement for 20 years and has been to over a half dozen ceremonies for fallen officers and says there is a strong bond between state law enforcement agencies nationwide.
"Typically, for a state patrol to lose an officer you're going to see a lot of representatives from other state law enforcement organizations, which you might not see in a municipality or a county law enforcement organization," he said.
He said the outpouring of support from the community and other emergency personnel agencies was also impressive.
"I think the community understands what law enforcement officers and military personnel go through and when something tragic like this happens, whether it's a soldier or a law enforcement officer, when one of them dies in the line of duty everyone's heart breaks a little bit and they feel that pain so they want to pay their respects," said Gruebele.
That was true of a state patrol contingent from Kentucky who said they recently lost two officers and Wisconsin was well represented at the funerals of those men, so they felt an obligation to make the trek to Sparta.
"We try to reciprocate too," said Gruebele.
Gov. Scott Walker also attended the funeral as did members of the Lake Delton Fire Department whose firefighters responded to the scene of Borostowski's accident. They supplied the flag that was suspended between two fire truck aerial ladders across Black River Street during the funeral procession.
Along with law enforcement, there was military personnel at the funeral to honor Borostowski, who was a member of the Army National Guard and did tours in Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq, before attending the Wisconsin State Patrol Academy and graduating in December 2014.
He was awarded the Wisconsin State Patrol's Lifesaving Award for performing CPR on a man and saving his life.
Borostowski worked out of Tomah where he lived. He grew up in Oak Creek near Milwaukee where he was the only child of Stanly and Cynthia Borostowski, who moved to Sparta last January to be closer to their son.
Sparta Police Chief Dave Kuderer said the family was grateful for the outpouring of support they received from area residents and the law enforcement community.
The Sauk County Sheriff's Department, which is leading the investigation of the accident, has determined Borostowski's patrol car, a 2009 Crown Victoria, was traveling at a high rate of speed before the crash.
Investigators are attempting to reconstruct the accident and are trying to establish if Borostowski was trying to catch up to a traffic violator at the time of the crash. The trooper is believed to have pulled onto the eastbound lane from the median about a mile from the scene of the crash, but a witness said his cruiser's emergency lights were not activated.
The cruiser also was not equipped with a dash board video camera.