KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Loved ones and friends gathered Friday to remember a man killed in a Kansas City crash who they said was trying to be a light and a joy to those around him.
Jesse Eckes, 52, was standing near Truman Road and Benton Boulevard on Feb. 15 when investigators said a speeding driver struck a Kansas City Police Department cruiser with such force that it was pushed into Eckes.
He, as well as KCPD Officer James Muhlbauer and K9 Champ, all died in the crash.
Eckes’ memorial service was held Friday at Hope Faith in Kansas City. In lieu of flowers, family asked people to send a donation to Hope Faith in Eckes’ honor.
Eckes spent more the four years getting help from Hope Faith Ministries, which helped with his funeral services Friday.
“Jesse, while he needed help for himself, he was always looking out for other people,” Hope Faith Executive Director Doug Langner said Friday. “He was always trying to lighten the mood, even when days were dark and their were rainy days, he was trying to brighten the spirit.”
“He had that same type of spirit to reach out, to help people,” volunteer Larry Guidry said. “He had just a spirit of love, and I wish more people had that type of spirit of love be considerate for other people.”
Friends FOX4 previously spoke with echoed those sentiments, saying Eckes was a good man and always tried to help those around him feel better.
“They lost a good person, they lost a friend, they lost a brother, they lost a confidante, they lost a person, they lost someone very special,” friend Kristyna Kleban said.
“We laugh, we cut up, we joke. Now he’s not there. He always made me laugh at the right given time. He always made me feel better.”
Jackson County prosecutors charged Jerron Lightfoot of Tonganoxie, Kansas, with two counts of first-degree involuntary manslaughter. Investigators said he ran a red light and was going nearly 90 mph less than two seconds before the crash.