WAYZATA, Minn. (KMSP) - From domestic assault to tragic suicide, to even mundane parking issues, Wayzata Police Officer William Mathews was always there. Until he wasn't.
Friday afternoon Mathews died after being struck by a motorist while clearing debris from Highway 12, sending shockwaves throughout the community.
Gestures small and large began to pour in--blue roses and blue lightbulbs, fundraisers, heartfelt notes written in chalk and dropped off on doorsteps and left with relatives; even a parade, repurposed in Mathews honor, marched Main Street--the things that happen when tragedy strikes in a small town.
LIVE COVERAGE: Wayzata Police Officer Bill Mathews funeral
Thousands lined the streets as Officer Mathews was laid to rest Thursday morning, wiping away tears as his hearse passed through the same streets he patrolled just days ago, his final call to service broadcast over dispatch radio, officially marking his end of watch.
Mathews leaves behind a wife and young son, devastated by the loss--but never alone. Representatives from the Thin Blue Line, an organization formed to provide assistance to the families of fallen first responders, were on hand to give their support to the Mathews family.
The driver who hit him, Beth Freeman, now sits in jail on charges of criminal vehicular homicide, with evidence that she was under the influence of controlled substances and on her phone at the time of the crash.
Freeman, also driving with a canceled license, now faces 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.