SWEET HOME - More than 300 motorcyclists from across Oregon converged on the Sweet Home Police Department on Saturday morning, a pit stop on a 248-mile ride in memory of Chris Kilcullen, a Eugene police officer who was killed April 22 in the line of duty.

Kilcullen's badge number was 248, Springfield police officer Brian Antonen said.

"Originally, I thought we'd get a few guys together and raise a couple hundred bucks for his family," Antonen said. "It kind of exploded."

The ride started in Eugene, stopped in Sweet Home, proceeded on to Sisters and returned to Springfield on Highway 126, where riders had the opportunity to pay their respects at Kilcullen's roadside memorial.

Riders paid $35, plus $10 for passengers. Proceeds will go toward an educational fund for Kilcullen's children, Sydney Sampson, 11, and Katie Kilcullen, 4, plus a scholarship at the University of Oregon.

Riders pulled into the department's parking lot on a variety of bikes - from American-made Harley Davidsons and Victory cruisers to BMWs and Honda Goldwings.

And the riders were just a varied from police officers to truck drivers.

"Usually, we wear a black ribbon on our badge in honor of someone," Antonen said. "He was a motorcycle officers, so I figured, why not have a motorcycle ride in his honor?"

Kilcullen's widow, Kristie, called the event, "Awesome."

She wasn't riding a motorcycle, but appreciated those who were. Also participating were Kilcullen's sister, Colby Kilcullen and his cousin, Kristi Goad, all of Eugene.

"I'm overwhelmed by all of the people," Kristie Kilcullen said. "It's such a beautiful day for this."

Kilcullen was a Eugene native and 12-year veteran officer, who was liked even by those who got tickets from him, people said at his funeral.

He was killed after a high-speed chase of a vehicle down Interstate 5. After stopping the errant vehicle, he was shot by the driver, Cheryl D. Kidd, 56, of Springfield. She was arrested a few hours later after the shooting following a standoff near Lowell. A Lane County judge ruled on June 6 that Kidd was too mentally ill to stand trial. She's since been transported to the Oregon State Hospital in Salem for treatment, pending further legal action.

The Sweet Home pit stop was organized by community services officer Gina Riley. She was assisted by numerous volunteers from the Sweet Home Police Department.


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