BARK RIVER, Mich. (WJMN) – A portion of US-2/41 in Bark Biver will now go by a different name in honor of a fallen Michigan State Police trooper. The community, law enforcement and the family of the trooper gathered on Friday evening for the dedication of the Darryl M. Rantanen Memorial Highway. Tpr. Rantanen was killed in the line of duty on May 27, 1974.
“The night he was killed, late night hours and he was helping Escanaba Public Safety officers chase two young men in a stolen car,” said F/Lt. Gregory Cunningham, Commander, MSP Gladstone Post. “And Unfortunately, when they were chasing them in the stolen car, both the stolen car and the trooper car lost control, went off the roadway and the trooper car hit a tree and he was killed. So this, 50 years ago this incident happened, this is a way to bring that education back to the community, renaming the highway. He had four children when he passed, and they’re all with us today from all over the country and they’re able to be here with us and celebrate the renaming of the highway in memory of their father and also this is the first time they’ve been back here since 1974.”
Tpr. Rantanen was the 29th Michigan State Police officer to die in the line of duty.