Funeral held for trooper who died after crash

MASON, Mich. (WOOD) — Funeral services for Michigan State Police Trooper Caleb Starr were held in the Lansing area where the community paid its respects one last time.

“What we have to remember today is not only was he a trooper, but he was a son, a father, a husband and a dedicated public servant to the citizens of the state of Michigan,” said MSP Lt. Brian Oleksyk. 

Starr started with MSP in September 2018 and was stationed at the Lakeview post in Montcalm County.

On July 10, authorities said he was hit by a drunk driver while on patrol and passed away three weeks later.

He leaves behind a wife and two daughters. He was 33 years old.

A courtesy photo of Caleb Starr.
A courtesy photo of Caleb Starr.

And some of the citizens he served came to say goodbye.

“You always wonder that last time they walk out that door if they’re going to come back through, and that’s something that’s always in the back of our mind,” said Theresa Buttleman of Onondaga, who has a husband who works as a firefighter. “It’s hard to lose one that protects and serves our community.”

She and her family spent their Saturday afternoon honoring Starr, and she hopes the procession ended up teaching her kids a lesson.

“Showing the respect,” said Buttleman. “It’s what they teach them every day: to show respect for adults, other people. But even so, showing the respect that our law enforcement is just as important as everybody else out there.”

Graveside services were kept private because of COVID-19, though MSP gave people a look inside Starr’s funeral with a series of tweets.

“They’re there to serve and protect and keep us safe on a day-to-day basis,” she said. “Same with our fire departments and EMS. They’re all in different parts of the community keeping us safe and it’s just as important.”

Starr’s send-off served as a reminder of the danger present with every shift.

“This tragic, sad event was preventable,” said Oleksyk. “So, my message and the Michigan State Police’s message is just like every other law enforcement agency’s out there: don’t drink and drive. If you’re going to drink, get a designated driver. This tragedy could have been prevented.”

Condolences for Starr’s family can be left online.