The widow and 7-year-old son of a Wayzata police officer are thanking the public for "an outpouring of love" since William Mathews, 47, was hit and killed while clearing debris from a highway last week.
An open letter from Shawn Mathews and her son Wyatt was released Tuesday through the Wayzata Police Department, where "Bill" Mathews was on the force for nine years.
"Bill was proud to perform his duty as an officer in the communities of Wayzata and Long Lake, protecting and serving without hesitation," the letter says.
Expressing gratitude for the love and support shown by many people, the letter also says "Please keep Wyatt and I in your prayers. We need your strength."
It concludes with these lines: "We will miss his smile, his laugh, his hugs and his uncanny ability to fix anything. Bill, your legacy will live on in our son Wyatt, we will never forget you. You will always be our hero. "
Wayzata will close for the funeral
Most city business in Wayzata will pause during the funeral for Mathews on Thursday.
Wayzata announced City Hall will be closed all day, as will the Public Works and motor vehicle offices. The city-owned liquor store and its adjacent Wayzata Bar & Grill will wait until 4 p.m. to open Thursday.
A visitation will be held at the church Wednesday from 3-8 p.m.
Suspect appears in court
The woman police say was driving the vehicle that hit Mathews, Beth Freeman, was charged Monday with criminal vehicular homicide and driving with a canceled license.
Freeman, 54, had lost her license because of her many driving violations, authorities say. The Hennepin County Attorney says Freeman admitted to investigators that she was talking on her phone and texting just before her Nissan Murano fatally hit Mathews on Friday afternoon.
Freeman made her first court appearance Tuesday and bail was set at $500,000, Lakeshore Weekly News reports.