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He was on duty at the time, working undercover

Barry County Sheriff's Department

Deputy Christopher Yonkers


BARRY COUNTY, Mich. -- Deputy Christopher Yonkers' sister-in-law describes him as a man who wanted to be part of something bigger than himself.
He spent more than 10 years with the Barry County Sheriff's Department after having served in the Army.
"He wanted to do it all," Jamie Knoertzer said. "He just had this incredible charisma about him."
Yonkers, 43, was killed October 17 when his motorcycle was struck by a vehicle along M-43 north of Hastings. He was wearing a helmet and died at the scene. He was on duty at the time, working undercover. The case has been turned over to State police. Investigators say they are waiting for toxicology results to determine if the other driver, who was not injured, will be charged.
Hundreds of mourners are expected Thursday, including fellow law enforcement officers from as far as North Carolina, for a funeral at the Barry County Expo Center.
Knoerzter told 24 Hour News 8 people "just loved" her brother-in-law - loved as a husband by a woman he met in the fourth grade, and loved as a father by his five children.
He was the man who left Barry County to head to New York City just days after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. He spoke with 24 Hour News 8 when he returned.
"This is nothing personal," he said. "This was done for the department, for our community, for West Michigan, just to represent us, to show we also care, as far away as we are, we care."
"It was as if there was no choice," Knoertzer said. "That's where he was going, that's where he belonged and that's where he went. Not one single person was surprised."
In his department, Deputy Yonkers was known as a living legend - a law enforcement officer who taught other law enforcement officers.

The deputy who traveled with him to New York City says when he was told Chris had passed, he simply couldn't believe it. Knoertzer said the family of a law enforcement officer knows the worst can happen. But nothing can prepare them for the moment when it does.
She said her sister is an "amazing woman...and those kids are strong, but they're going to take a while to breathe again."
Visitation for Yonkers will take place 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. on Oct. 22 at Girrbach Funeral Home at 328 S. Broadway Street in Hastings. His funeral will be held at 1 p.m. on Oct. 23 at the Barry Expo Center at 5778 M-37 in Hastings. Seating will be limited, so arriving early is recommended.

Courtesy of WOOD-TV
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