Courtney Book. (Courtesy: Elisa Hester, Friend of Book's)
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Officers with Arkansas State Police say a White County deputy hit and killed a bicyclist Thursday night.
The cyclist is identified as Harding University student Courtney Book. Heather Beall with Harding University said Book was a 24-year-old graduate student in the College of Education studying for her masters in teaching. She entered the school in 2008 majoring in history with a minor in ancient languages. She received her degree in 2012.
Book's friends say she was a very warm, inviting person with a heart of gold.
"She was just full of love and that's something that she very much impacted my life with and I'm very blessed to have known her and been apart of her life. She's not going to be forgotten ever," said Elisa Hester.
Bill Sadler with Arkansas State Police says the accident happened just after 9 p.m. on Booth Road in Searcy.
Sadler says the preliminary investigation shows Book was riding a bicycle and was struck by the deputy. Beall says she later died of her injuries at UAMS at 2:35 a.m.
"She didn't have a car so for her transportation was limited to riding her bike or walking," says Victoria Macintosh.
Nathan Henton, a cyclist, rides Booth Road nearly every day and says a few more lights could help but may not prevent accidents from happening.
"When it is dark, the other end on the other side of Main street is not lit very well. Cars are big and made of metal. Car versus cyclist car always wins," says Henton.
Beall says her family is arriving in Searcy from Maine. A statement from Harding reads in part, "Please remember the family in your prayers. The Office of Student Life will provide additional information as soon as arrangements are completed."
White County Sheriff's Department identified the driver of the patrol car as Lt. Brandon Grimes. At this time, authorities said it appears the accident was an accident and the department is not planning to take any personnel action against him.