Highway Hero: Wayzata Renames a Stretch of U.S. 12 in Memory of a Fallen Officer

The late Bill Mathews with his son Wyatt and wife Shawn.

After Wayzata police officer Bill Mathews was tragically hit and killed by a distracted driver in September 2017, the Minnesota House and Senate passed legislation allowing a section of U.S. Highway 12 to be named the Officer Bill Mathews Memorial Highway.

Wayzata police chief Mike Risvold says the department would also like to dedicate something like a small footbridge near where the accident happened.

Both Risvold and Mathews’ wife Shawn say one important part of Mathews’ legacy is increasing awareness of the dangers of distracted driving. “More than just remembering Bill, what we would like to do is have this become a positive [thing], because we think that’s what Bill would want,” says Risvold. “We would like to not only have this [highway name] sign go up, but to do that in conjunction with some other signage in the area that talks about distracted driving.”