'I can't have him back': Widow, son remember fallen Wayzata officer

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Everyone had their favorite spot on the couch in the Mathews' home for movie night. It was the simple things in life that brought so much joy to Bill, Shawn and Wyatt until the unthinkable happened on September 8.

"I just thought it would be a day like normal and I always told him be safe and I love you and that was the last conversation we had," said Shawn Mathews.

But a few hours later Shawn would get the call that every law enforcement spouse fears.

"The first thing I said to the officer who came to pick me up is, ‘Is he dead?’” she said. “I think you get a sense as a companion and as a wife and he said, ‘No.’ On the way down from the hospital I got a call from the nurse and she was very honest with me, which I appreciated so I knew what I was facing going in." 

Wayzata Police Officer Bill Mathews had been removing debris along the side of Highway 12 in Wayzata when he was hit and killed.

Court documents show 54-year-old Beth Freeman had a revoked license, was on cocaine and texting while driving. Shawn says the poor decision of one woman has broken her family forever.

"It changed our lives; I want people to know that they have choices,” said Shawn. “She chose to do what she did and with your choices come consequences."

Bill's badge and uniform now lay on the kitchen table. Shawn always knew the dangers of her husband's job, but never thought he would be taken from them so soon.

"It was lonely, it was scary and it was amazing because I was the wife of a police officer and I was also the wife of Bill Mathews," said Shawn.

The bonds from her law enforcement family run deep. A Wayzata officer recently showed up unannounced to Shawn and Wyatt's home just to check on them. Kind gestures and thoughtful gifts like K-9 stuffed animals mailed to Wyatt from a police department in Oregon show how much support they truly have.

Wyatt is remarkably resilient for a seven-year-old. He and Shawn have been holding each other up during some of their darkest moments.

Wyatt and his father Bill were best buddies who loved to play hockey, fish and sometimes just hang in the garage. But the quiet memories are the ones he'll miss most.

"Every morning we would wake up before Mommy would, well most mornings, and we would go to McDonald's," said Wyatt.

While Shawn does everything she can to keep Bill's memory and legacy alive for Wyatt, sometimes that empty spot on the couch is too much. She just wishes she could hear his voice one more time.

"It's the one thing I can't have,” she said. “I want him back for me, for Wyatt and I can't have him back."

Next month, Wayzata police are holding a fundraiser to help them get to Washington D.C. for an event at the national monument honoring fallen officers. The event will be held at the Wayzata American Legion on November 17 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. For more information, click here.