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Benton County deputy killed in crash during Wreaths Across America escort

Detective Paul Daniel Newell, 51 of Gravette Arkansas died while escorting the Wreaths Across America procession in Bentonville on Dec. 17.

BENTON COUNTY, Ark — A Benton County Sheriff's Office (BCSO) deputy has died after an on-duty motorcycle escort crash in Bentonville, Arkansas Saturday, Dec. 17.

Detective Paul Daniel Newell, 51, of Gravette was killed in a crash on SE Walton Blvd. near Interstate 49, while escorting the Wreaths Across America procession through Bentonville, according to the BCSO.

Wreaths Across America is an organization that provides wreaths to veteran cemeteries across the country. A ceremony was held Saturday afternoon at the Bentonville cemetery.

According to the crash report from Arkansas State Police, Detective Newell was driving eastbound in the center turning lane on Highway 71B when he hit a curb, lost control and hit a semi-truck. The report states the driver of the semi was not injured in the crash.

Credit: BCSO

Detective Newell was a veteran, according to a 2018 BCSO Facebook post.

He began his law enforcement career in the Benton County detention division on December 1, 1998, and later graduated from the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy.

Detective Newell served as a patrol deputy, patrol sergeant, training sergeant, lieutenant in the administration section and most recently detective assigned to the Criminal Investigation Division. 

BCSO says Detective Newell was "a certified instructor in numerous courses and placed a high emphasis on sharing his training and experience."

Law enforcement agencies and first responders across Arkansas offered their condolences Saturday.

"Please keep the family and the law enforcement brothers and sisters in your prayers," the Benton County Division of Public Safety wrote in a Facebook post.

A memorial has been set up for Detective Newell in front of the Benton County Sheriff’s Office. 

"The family of Detective Newell, along with his law enforcement family would appreciate the continued prayers. Thank all those who have reached out to show your love and support during this time," BCSO wrote on Facebook.

The public is invited to line the street Sunday, Dec. 18 morning to honor the life of the fallen deputy.

The following video shows the procession from the cameras spread across I-49 in Northwest Arkansas. 

Melissa Drive will be reserved for first responders to line up and the public is welcome to line the streets from 14th Street/Hwy 102 and on.

Lowell Fire Department set up an American Flag over the interstate for Fallen Officer Paul Newell. RIP Detective Newell.

Posted by Lowell Fire Department - Arkansas on Sunday, December 18, 2022

The procession is as follows: 

  • Procession Leaves at 7 a.m. from Benton County Coroner's Office
  • Right onto Melissa Drive
  • Right on “I” Street
  • Left onto 14th Street
  • Right onto Hwy 49
  • On to the Arkansas State Crime lab.

Procession this morning honoring Benton County Sheriff's Detective Paul Newell.

Posted by City of Johnson Arkansas Police Department on Sunday, December 18, 2022

A memorial service has been scheduled for Newell for Dec 28 at 10:30 a.m.

The memorial service will be at Cross Church, 2448 S. Pinnacle Hills Parkway, Rogers, AR. 72758. Newell will be laid to rest at the Maysville Cemetery in Maysville, Arkansas.

Arkansas officials have issued the following statements regarding the death of the deputy. 

Governor Asa Hutchinson:

"I'm deeply saddened to learn Arkansas lost a member of the law enforcement family today in a tragic accident. My prayers are with Benton County Deputy Paul Newell's family, the Benton County Sheriff's Office, and the law enforcement community."

Senator John Boozman:

"Cathy and I are saddened by the tragic death of Benton County Sheriff’s Office Detective Paul Daniel Newell today. His final act was in honor of others, escorting the @WreathsAcross procession in NWA. We’re praying for his family, friends and colleagues."

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