John J. O'Donnell  | Star #3590

Death Classification: Line of Duty Death

Agency: Chicago Police Department

Served: 3 years, 11 months, 16 days

Unit of Assignment / Detail: 31st District - Cragin

District of Incident (Present Day): 025 - Grand Central

Location of Occurrence: Diversey Avenue and Kilbourn Avenue

Cause of Death: Struck - By Vehicle

Age at Time of Death: 33


Date of Birth: 28 Aug 1908

Date of Appointment: 1938

Date of Incident: 09 Aug 1942

End of Watch: 09 Aug 1942

Date of Interment: 11 May 1834


Interment Details

 Cemetery: Mount Carmel Cemetery - Hillside, Illinois
 Grave Location: Grave 2, Lot W 9' of 37, Block 8, Section 32
 Interment Disposition: Burial


Memorial Details

Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-1

Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 12

Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Not Listed

National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Not Listed

Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed



 Military Service: No Military Record Found


Incident & Biographic Details

Patrolman John J. O’Donnell, Star #3590, aged 33 years, was a 3 year, 11 month, 16 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 31st District – Cragin.

On August 9, 1942, at approximately 3:15 a.m., Officer O’Donnell was working with Patrolman John Ryan at the scene of a hit and run traffic crash at the intersection of Diversey and Kilbourn Avenues. The officers were loading two pedestrians, Albert Cordingley, age 45, of 4518 Parket Avenue and James Young, age 46, of 910 West Lawrence Avenue into a police ambulance. An intoxicated motorist, George Peterson, age 43, of 2844 North Mango Avenue, was speeding and did not see the officers in time to stop. Peterson slammed into the back of the ambulance crushing Officer O’Donnell’s left leg between the car and the ambulance. Officer O’Donnell was transported to Belmont Hospital and died shortly thereafter from shock and hemorrhage due to the crushing injury. Cordingley was taken to Belmont Hospital where he died from injuries sustained in the hit and run traffic crash.

George Peterson was arrested on scene and later charged with manslaughter.

Officer O’Donnell was waked at a funeral home located at 5350 West North Avenue. His funeral mass was held at St. John Bosco Catholic Church located at 2250 North McVicker Avenue. He was laid to rest on August 12, 1942 in Mount Carmel Cemetery, 1400 South Wolf Road #4, Hillside, Illinois. His grave is located in Grave 2, Lot W 9′ of 37, Block 8, Section 32.

Patrolman John J. O’Donnell, born August 28, 1908, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on September 24, 1938.

Officer O’Donnell was a member of the Chicago Policemen’s Benevolent & Welfare Association. He was survived by his wife, Alice (nee Nottoli), age 32; daughter, Denise Marie, age 14 months; mother Catherine (nee O’Malley) and siblings: Alice Sullivan, Anna Castans, Emmett, Mary Margaret and Veronica Brezina.

On November 14, 2006, Officer O’Donnell’s star was retired by Superintendent Philip J. Cline and enshrined in the Superintendent’s Honored Star Case, located in the lobby at Chicago Police Headquarters, 3510 South Michigan Avenue.