BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/FOX24) — A law enforcement officer is dead after being hit by a truck in Bentonville, Arkansas, during an escort to deliver materials for a Wreaths Across America event.

Detective Paul Newell (Courtesy: Benton County Sheriff’s Office)

Detective Paul Newell, 51, was on duty during the Wreath Across America procession on Saturday, Dec. 17 when he was hit by a truck, according to Benton County Sheriff Shawn Holloway.

The crash happened before 7:30 on Walton Boulevard. Bentonville Police responded to the incident to block the area off.

The Benton County Division of Public Safety posted the following information on its Facebook page Saturday morning, saying in part:

“The Benton County Sheriff’s Office lost a great deputy this morning during a motorcycle escort crash. Please keep the family and the law enforcement brothers and sisters in your prayers…”

Later that morning, the Benton County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) released a statement, identifying Newell as the person killed.

According to BCSO, Newell had been with the sheriff’s office since 1998, starting in the detention division. During his law enforcement career, he served as a patrol deputy, patrol sergeant, training sergeant, and lieutenant. Most recently, he was a detective with the Criminal Investigation Division.

Newell was one of the law enforcement officers escorting large trucks for a Wreaths Across America event. 

The annual Wreaths Across America event took place Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Fayetteville National Cemetery.

According to a veteran attending the Wreaths Across America event, there were a total of three trucks scheduled to deliver wreaths to the Fayetteville National Cemetery, each from a Northwest Arkansas-based company: Walmart, Tyson and J.B. Hunt. The veteran, who did not want to be identified, said the Walmart truck did not deliver its wreaths.

KNWA/FOX24 staff on the scene in Bentonville Saturday morning saw a Walmart truck pulled over on the side of the road after the crash.

A Walmart spokesperson sent News 2’s sister station the following statement:

“We’re heartbroken about this tragic accident. Our thoughts are with Deputy Paul Newell’s loved ones. We value our partnerships with local law enforcement and will be cooperating with the investigation.”

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Meanwhile, KNWA/FOX24 received the following statement from a Wreath Across America spokesperson:

“Wreaths Across America is devastated to learn of this tragic accident and will keep Detective Newell’s family, colleagues and friends in our prayers.”

News 2’s sister station has also reached out to the Bentonville Police Department for further information.