Attack on roadside memorial becomes personal for small town - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Attack on roadside memorial becomes personal for small town

The City of West Point in Hardin County is offering a reward after someone severely damaged a roadside memorial. (Source: WAVE 3 News) The City of West Point in Hardin County is offering a reward after someone severely damaged a roadside memorial. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Officer Donald Williams (Source: WAVE 3 News) Officer Donald Williams (Source: WAVE 3 News)
William “Billy” Ash (Source: WAVE 3 News) William “Billy” Ash (Source: WAVE 3 News)

WEST POINT, KY (WAVE) - The City of West Point in Hardin County is offering a reward after someone severely damaged a roadside memorial. The memorial stands near the spot where a West Point police officer and his wife were killed in a fiery collision with a drunk driver in 1984.

Officer Donald Williams was a part-time West Point Police Officer and city firefighter. Thirty-three years ago he became the first city officer killed in the line of duty in almost a century. For the town of less than 1,000 residents the loss was traumatic. 

Williams’ wife, Sheila, was also killed in the crash. She was in the patrol car that night, keeping her husband company on a department-approved ride-along. They had two children.

Current West Point mayor William “Billy” Ash was a close friend and fellow firefighter. He was among the first to arrive at the scene of the fiery crash.

“The car was totally involved with flames so we had to put the fire out and figure out who was in there,” Ash said. “We didn't really know if that was our police car yet or not.”

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Ash said the discovery was personally devastating to many in the town. Residents, he said, rallied to support and help raise the children.

Later that year, the city erected a modest white cement cross to mark the scene of the crash, just outside town on the side of Dixie Highway. Since then, Ash said residents and family members have taken care of the memorial by mowing the grass and placing flowers at the base of the cross.

Last week, someone severely damaged the cross, possibly with a sledge hammer, in an apparent attempt to tear down the memorial. Several items including a plaque were broken, but the cross, reinforced with steel bars, remained standing.

“I just want to know, what kind of person would do this? And I still don't know what kind of person would do this,” Ash said baffled. “There's no monetary value to it. They didn't take anything.”

If anything was taken, the crime may have taken a sense of peace that the memorial gave to people who remembered the Williams’ best. It leaves behind feelings of sadness and anger. A $500 reward is offered for the information that helps catch and convict anyone responsible.

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