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Friends, colleagues remember police officer killed in crash

READ MORE: Friends, colleagues remember police officer killed in crash
A Wilmington Police officer died in a car crash early Wednesday morning. Officer Richard Matthews died after losing control of his patrol car around the 3900 block of Shipyard Blvd. at 1:18 a.m. He was heading east on Shipyard to back up another officer when he apparently lost control, crossed the median and hit a tree. Crews took him to New Hanover Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. Officer Matthews was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash. Long-time friend Sue Gallagher got a phone call at 3 in the morning, informing her of her dear friend's death. "He was very proud," Gallagher said. "He used to tell my daughter a lot that he would be out there catching the bad guys, and he would." Officer Matthews was recently issued a commendation for his acts of bravery, courage and professionalism on the job. He and several of his co-workers were honored for their work during a structure fire on Park Avenue. Officer Matthews, and four other officers, awakened and evacuated residents of the complex as the fire was spreading quickly. Their actions included taking a 96-year-old woman to safety. "He volunteered for everything and he was a hard, hard worker," says Police Chief Ralph Evangelous. Officer Matthews was 28 years old. He had been part of the Wilmington Police Department since December, 2006. He came to WPD after serving with the New York City Police Department from January 2004 until December 2006. In Wilmington, Officer Matthews spent time at the Port City Community Church. Pastor Mike Ashcraft remembers him fondly. "His close friends began coming here, and that's how we got to know him," he said. Officer Matthews was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Matthews of Bethlehem, PA. His funeral service will be held in his hometown early next week. A memorial service will most likely take place in Wilmington the following week. Donations in memory of Officer Matthews may be directed to the Wilmington Police Recreation Association, c/o Lt. Matt Hinson, 615 Bess Street, Wilmington, NC 28401.

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Life changes in an instant

I am like "giant" and have questions as to the speed etc that Officer Matthews was traveling and the call he was rushing to assist. That aside, I too am grieved at "our loss" as we have all lost him since he was a servant to our community. When first hearing the news I couldn't wait to hear the name as I wanted to know immediately if it was any of the officers I know. I did not "know" Officer Matthews, but can still feel the loss of him and know the hole it will leave at the WPD. My heart felt sympathy goes to the WPD and the family of Officer Matthews - but when you say "family" that does include the WPD, doesn't it, as they are a family! May all that were part of Officer Matthews family have peace and comfort at this time.

Condolences and circumstances

No one should have to die, especially while doing any job, and then while serving us but I would like to know WHEN the public will know the details of the situation....what was so detramental to the officer on the scene that this poor man had to speed so fast that it cost him his life, did the person have a gun drawn on the officer? fast was this officer traveling and was it excessive even in response to the call? Please don't bombarde me with replies, I just want to know if he had to die....I think it might could have been avoided and could be a learning experience for others. My prayers, sympathy and condolences go out to his family, friends, and co-workers. GOD bless you all and GOD be with this fallen hero.


My you rest in peace brother. Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God. Matthew 5:9 CMPD, Officer

one of the good guys

this officer was one of the good guys!! my condolances to the family. i just drove by the site and i noticed no tire tracks in the median. how fast was he going? was the officer that called for assistance in danger?

The Good Die Young

It has always been said that the good die young. This is a tragic loss for the WPD, and for this young man's family. My thoughts and prayers are with the family. May you find comfort in knowing that your loved one served our community well, and that we admire him for his courage, dedication, and sevice. God Bless and keep you strong. Instead of a badge this young man has wings now.

policemans death

TGod bless you My prayers and thoughts are with you. The men in blue work hard. Take care

I am so sorry for your loss

I am so sorry for your loss and I am sorry that we have lost a man who chose to serve our community. May the family be given the strength needed to get through this time of grief and tragedy.

R.I.P. Sir!!

R.I.P. Officer Richard Mathews, "your duties as a police officer, were appreciated". Thank you for your service, and our prayers are to the the family..... ~5~

I'm so sorry for your lost Love one and friend

My prayers are with you.I know there are no words that can express your pain.Just fall into the arms of Jesus he will help you through. I pray for stength for your family and the WPD.

WPD Officer

God bless the family of the fallen and the men and women of the Wilmington Police Department as they go through this tragedy. No words can express how it feels to lose one in the line of duty. Thank you for service and rest in peace. 10-42.

may be rest in peace

bless this officer and be assured of peace for the right service in this world in the betterment of the community! What a great and sad loss for us all!

Thank you

As a family member of a WPD officer, I can tell you my heart goes out to the family of the officer. Our prayers are with you and the other men and women of the wpd I know they are a very close group of men and women. God bless you and your family.

police officer

My heart goes out to the family and the fellow officers. They put their lives on the line everyday..

Heartache at WPD

I would hope that the funeral is local or that they will have a local memorial service so that we would have the opportunity to pay our respects to a man that stood firmly on that thin blue line protecting us with such courage and dedication. Oh how quickly things can happen, please God protect those who protect us!


Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and to the police department. What a terrible tragedy! Blessings to his family and friends. The road ahead will seem long and pain-filled, but God will get you through the pain - just keep his memory alive by remembering the good times and the love that he brought to your life.

Thank you

Thank you for your service to the City of Wilmington.

Thoughts and Prayers

My thoughts and prayers go to this officer's family, friends, and department members. I am sure the pain right now is unbearable, but you are all cared for by the brethren of officers out here from all areas.


Our hearts and prayers go out to the family and all of Law Enforcement in this sad time of loss.

Police Officer Dies

We will keep the family and friends of this officer as well as the WPD in our prayers! Thank you for your service.

God bless this man and his

God bless this man and his family. Never take for granted what the men and women of law enforcement do each day. RIP

Officer Matthews

I am so sorry for the loss of Officer Matthews. My prayers are with his family, friends and fellow officers. Thank you Officer Matthews for serving the public and thank you to all law enforcement officers.


May you rest in peace. You are truly missed.