CONWAY, Ark. (KTHV) - The Conway Police Department is in mourning Friday night. Conway Police Officer Will McGary passed away just after 5 p.m. Friday at Baptist Hospital.
Officer Will McGary had just started his career in law enforcement, serving almost two years with the Conway Police Department. Now, the man police said struck the officer is facing serious charges.
Will McGary's family said he loved being an officer for the Conway Police Department.
"He was a great young man in high school growing up, and I know he had his dream job. He was doing last night what he loves to do," said McGary's Pastor James Hayes of Valley Baptist Church in Searcy.
Officer McGary was directing traffic around an accident on Dave Ward Drive when another driver struck him. A chopper airlifted him to Baptist Hospital in Little Rock. Chief A.J. Gary spoke with the media just hours before Officer McGary passed away.
"The driver, Barry Strickland, was arrested at the scene. He has been formally charged by Cody Hiland, prosecutor, with battery first, DWI drugs, and other traffic offenses," said Chief Gary.
On the day of the accident, a post was made to Stickland's Twitter account saying quote, "Throe it up if ya wanna get higher thn church steppal." The picture was accompanied by a picture of 50 small blue pills.
THV 11 found those same pills on drugs.com, which is backed by the FDA as a reliable source and described the drug as Clonazepam-a drug used to treat a variety of mental health disorders including anxiety, bipolar and insomnia.
THV 11 spoke with Prosecutor Cody Hiland about Strickland's charges. He said with Officer McGary passing away, this could change the case. He said they are fully aware of Strickland's intoxication at the time of the accident and will be evaluating all facts in the case over the weekend. They plan to make a decision about what additional charges will be filed on Monday.
Strickland is being held at the Faulkner County jail in lieu of $150,000 bond.