WAYZATA, Minn. (KMSP) - The late Wayzata Police Officer Bill Mathews, who was struck and killed last fall while clearing debris off a local roadway, was honored at a candle light vigil for fallen law enforcement officers in Washington D.C. Sunday night.
Officer Mathews’ widow, Shawn, and their son, Wyatt, made the trip along with members of the Wayzata Police Department to remember him.
“It’s great to remember Bill—my heart says we just want him back and we can’t, so that makes it bittersweet,” Shawn said.
His name was added to the National Law Enforcement Officers' Memorial alongside the 129 others killed in the line of duty last year. 231 officers who had died in years prior were also added to the wall.
Mathews was struck by a car and killed while picking up debris along Highway 12 in Wayzata Sept. 8, 2017. Beth Freeman, the woman who hit Mathews, was sentenced last week to more than eight years in prison for her role in the incident.
Speaking just before the ceremony, Shawn said it was especially painful to watch their young son pay tribute to his father.
“We placed a pair of boots at the wall to just remember the beat that he walked and the 20 years that he spent doing what he believed in doing,” she said.
For the Wayzata Police Department—Bill’s brothers and sisters in blue—it was a somber reminder that lives can change in a second.
“Just seeing Bill’s name etched on the wall… it was tough,” Wayzata Police Officer Dustin Edberg said. “I’m not going to lie; it was hard to see his name out there.”
It was a difficult day for his loved ones, but according to them Bill Mathews will never be forgotten.