Legislature advances bill to name part of Hwy. 79 as Sgt. Chris Kelley Memorial Highway

On March 30, members of the Hutto Police Department, the city of Hutto and Kelley's family gathered to honor Sgt. Chris Kelley at Chris Kelley Boulevard.

On March 30, members of the Hutto Police Department, the city of Hutto and Kelley's family gathered to honor Sgt. Chris Kelley at Chris Kelley Boulevard.

In a break with tradition, the House Transportation Committee chose to advance a bill immediately after it was heard instead of leaving it pending until the following committee meeting.

The bill, heard at a Tuesday committee hearing, would honor Sgt. Chris Kelley of the Hutto Police Department, who was killed in the line of duty in 2015, by naming a portion of Hwy. 79 in Hutto after him.

If passed, the bill will require markers at the end of each portion of the highway and signage throughout.

The city of Hutto and the Texas Department of Transportation already unveiled Chris Kelley Boulevard near FM 685 to honor Kelley. This bill would address Hwy. 79, specifically.

At the Thursday hearing, several who knew Kelley testified in support of the bill.

Noel Johnson, the Texas Municipal Police Association's legislative liaison, called Kelley a "true leader and true hero."

Jack Kelley, Kelley's father, detailed his son's extensive service in law enforcement.

Kelley served in the Air Force, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Travis County Sheriff's Office, the University of Texas Police Department and the Hutto Police Department.

Jack Kelley said Kelley made friends everywhere and was respected in the community he served.

"In preparing for his funeral, the Austin Police Department chaplain asked who was Chris' best friend, and his wife said it best: Everybody thought he was his best friend because [Chris] never met anyone he didn't like and treated everyone as his best friend," Jack Kelley said.

The bill will next advance to the state House of Representatives floor for debate.


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