HAMMOND | Hundreds of law enforcement officers gathered shoulder to shoulder at First Baptist Church on Monday as the flag-draped casket of a fallen officer passed.
Lake County Jail corrections Officer Britney Meux, 25, died last week in a hit-and-run that seriously injured three other jail guards. Lakes of Four Seasons resident Jason Cozmanoff, 42, is accused of hitting the officers as they jogged along 93rd Avenue near Main Street in Crown Point.
"Seeing her lifeless body on the side of the road is a scene I will never forget," the Rev. Joseph Vamos, chaplain for the Lake County Sheriff's Department, said during Meux's funeral service. "This is a very real reminder that law enforcement officers have a thankless job — but a vital job to serve and protect."
About 800 people attended the two-hour funeral celebrating Meux's life. Officers came from as far away as New York and Pennsylvania to pay tribute.
One relative, Darryl Turner, reminisced about Meux's "infectious" smile.
"She could defuse any situation with her smile," he said during the service.
Meux's family honored her through words and music. They described a vibrant woman who loved life and was protective of her family and friends.
"This week will be burned in my mind forever, like a scar that never heals," Meux's friend Asheley Patterson wrote in a letter to Meux that ran in her memorial booklet. "You taught me to be strong and stand up for myself."
Patterson said she was "beyond blessed" to have Meux as a friend.
Meux also left behind "the love of her life," Joseph Hardiman, and their 5-month-old daughter, Savannah. Turner said Meux's family will help Hardiman care for Savannah.
Lake County Sheriff John Buncich remembered Meux as a go-getter who wasn't afraid to "get in the mix" and do her job.
"This is one call to duty that the sheriff, believe me, doesn't want to respond to," he told mourners Monday. "I had to do it before — hopefully, never again.
"Britney Meux, may you rest in eternal peace."
After the funeral, a procession followed Meux to Ridgelawn Cemetery in Gary, where loved ones said their last goodbyes.