The incident occurred about 12:30 PM on Highway 12. Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek said that Officer Mathews was enroute to a 911 call about debris in the roadway. Officer Mathews was struck by a vehicle as he was clearing the debris, according to MPR News.
Officer Mathews was transported to a local hospital, where he later died. Beth Freeman, the driver of the vehicle, Beth Freeman, 54, remained at the scene and was cooperative.
Freeman has an extensive criminal history and her driver’s license was revoked at the time that she struck Officer Mathews.
She is in custody at the Hennepin County Jail on a charge of criminal vehicular homicide, according to the Star-Tribune.
Wayzata Police Chief Mike Risvold said “This is an enormously sad day for us and we pray for Bill and his family. He was one of the good ones, for sure.”
“Officer Bill Mathews was the best! Always smiling — always professional. His loss is excruciatingly painful. Painful for his family at home and at work.”
New Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo announced the police officer’s death during his swearing-in ceremony on Friday afternoon, according to CBS Minnesota. He then asked for a moment of silence.
Highway 12 was closed in both directions from Shoreline Drive to County Road 101 for several hours. The Minnesota State Patrol is conducting the investigation.
Officer Mathews is a nine-year veteran of the Wayzata Police Department. He is survived by his wife and seven-year-old son.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Wayzata Police Officer William Mathews, both blood and blue. Godspeed, sir, we will take the watch from here. Thank you for your service.
Officer Mathews, your life mattered.