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Hero Down: Benton County Detective Paul Newell Dies In Motorcycle Crash While Escorting Wreaths Across America Procession

Bentonville, AR – Benton County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) Detective Paul Newell died in the line of duty on Dec. 17 after he lost control of his motorcycle while participating in the Wreaths Across America event.

Wreaths Across America is a nonprofit organization that distributes wreaths to be placed on the gravesites of military members.

The 51-year-old detective was escorting the Wreaths Across America procession through Bentonville when the crash occurred, KFSM reported.

As he was traveling eastbound on Highway 71B in the center turning lane, Det. Newell hit a curb, lost control of his motorcycle, and crashed into a semi-truck that was park of the procession, according to the news outlet.

The 24-year law enforcement veteran succumbed to his injuries at the scene, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

In addition to his service as a deputy, Det. Newell was also a U.S. Army veteran.

“It is with profound sadness that Benton County Sheriff Shawn Holloway announces the on-duty tragic death of Detective Paul Daniel Newell,” the BCSO said in a press release later that morning.

Det. Newell started out in the BCSO’s Detention Division before his graduation from the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy.

In the decades that followed, he served as a patrol deputy, patrol sergeant, training sergeant, and as a lieutenant in the administration section, the BCSO said.

He was assigned as a Criminal Investigation Division detective at the time of his death.

Det. Newell also helped establish the sheriff’s office’s Motor Division after he graduated from the Police Motorcycle Operator’s Course in 2006, according to his obituary.

He graduated from the Motor Officer’s Instructor School in Daytona, Florida in 2018, and became a certified Harley-Davidson technician in 2021 after completing training at the company’s headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

“He was instrumental in the maintenance and operation of the motorcycles and in teaching other deputies and officers from surrounding agencies,” the tribute read.

Det. Newell leaves behind his wife, Charlene, and his daughters, Tara and Tonya.

He is also survived by his parents, siblings, three granddaughters, nieces, and nephews.

Det. Newell will be laid to rest on Dec. 28.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Benton County Sheriff’s Office Detective Paul Newell, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin

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