On Aug. 19, 1955, off-duty Patrolman Billie D. Ellis attempted to rescue two young boys whose canoe had capsized in rough water on Lake Carnegie in Princeton shortly after a hurricane.
While trying to reach them in his own canoe, Patrolman Ellis’ canoe went overboard. He and the two boys lost their lives that day. Patrolman Ellis was 31.
To pay tribute to the fallen Princeton police officer, a bill (A-1369) sponsored by Assembly Democrats Daniel Benson (D-Mercer, Middlesex), Andrew Zwicker and Roy Freiman (both D-Somerset, Mercer, Middlesex and Hunterdon) to designate a portion of Route 27 as “Patrolman Billie D. Ellis Memorial Highway” was approved Monday by the full Assembly, 79-0.
The sponsors released the following joint statement:
“Patrolman Ellis was a true public servant. Only on the job for three years, he knew when he witnessed those children in trouble that it was his duty to step in to help them. He was married with two children of his own and expecting a baby. He had a promising career as a police officer.
“Patrolman Ellis tragically lost his life that day. However, we can keep his memory alive through this measure. When we honor a fallen hero, we also pay tribute to the thousands of men and women first responders like him who risk their own lives every day to protect others.”