One year later: Fallen SWAR deputy remembered

One year later: Fallen SWAR deputy remembered

LAFAYETTE CO., AR (KSLA) - It's been one year since a Southwest Arkansas sheriff's deputy was killed in a vehicle wreck and the man police say was responsible, remains in jail awaiting trial.

It was along a stretch of U.S. Highway 82 where Lafayette County Deputy Pete Richardson was killed. The only reminder is a roadside monument but the citizens of Lafayette County have not forgotten Richardson's sacrifice.

Employees of the Lafayette County Courthouse and other citizens gathered Tuesday to recognize the one year anniversary of Deputy Richardson's death.

"I think for me, it is always going to seem like yesterday. It is never going to change. It is always going to be like yesterday" says Pete Richardson's wife Melony.

Chief Deputy Richardson was transporting Michael Ackart to a homeless shelter when Ackart allegedly grabbed the steering wheel causing the police cruiser to run into the path of an oncoming 18-wheeler. Ackart is now facing a second degree murder charge.

"We are pleased to have everybody gathered here" said Pete Richardson's brother John.

Wearing shirts of support and memory, family members of Deputy Richardson were on hand to remember and reflect over the past year.

"That year has been very difficult and I think the next one is going to be difficult too. Sometimes we are in acceptance and sometimes in denial. We are getting there but it will take a while" says John Richardson.

The Lafayette County Sheriff's Department has started a fund raising drive to purchase a monument for the courthouse lawn to honor Richardson and other law enforcement and fire personnel who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

"You know, you hear so much bad stuff about police officers now, it is really good to see so many people turn out and support our fallen officers" says Sheriff Obie Simms.

The fundraising account is called the Lafayette County Law Enforcement Fund. It is set up at Bancorp South in Lewisville, Arkansas. Sheriff Simms says the funds raised will be used for the monument.

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