The body of Officer William Gray returned home to Rigby on Friday.
Gray was a reserve police officer with the Rigby Police Department.
In July, Gray was severely burned when another driver struck him head-on on U.S. 89 in Wellsville, Utah. Since then, Gray has been in a Utah hospital. Gray died Monday.
Friday, law enforcement agencies from Utah and Idaho escorted Gray’s body back to Rigby.
Family, friends and fellow officers lined the streets of Rigby to welcome Gray home. They sported blue ribbons and signs of support. The streets had blue ribbons, balloons and American flags lining the way for Gray to return.
Nearly every law enforcement agency around the region turned out to escort Gray home. Many showed up at the Utah-Idaho state line to escort him all the way. Others joined at their jurisdicitonal lines or stayed put along the way, saluting and displaying flags.
Utah Highway Patrol escorted Gray from Salt Lake City to the border and then ISP, joined by other Idaho agencies, took over at the border to continue on.
Law enforcement agencies said it doesn’t matter who Gray worked for – it’s all about their brother in blue.
“As a police officer, it’s a brotherhood, it’s like a family,” said Officer Mike Cosens, Idaho Falls police department. “When one of us is hurting, all of are hurting for the same reason. So we want to show our respect for that part of the family and come out and represent our support.”
Fellow officers who knew Gray remember him as a great guy – selfless, caring and the first to help others.
“Every officer I think brings something to the table and Officer Gray I think was just that good, kind-hearted, grizzly bear kind of guy with a tender heart,” said Sgt. Eric Brown, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. “He’s just a great guy and it’s a hole that will probably never be filled.”
“He was one of those guys who always had a smile on his face, he was always happy,” said Officer Bradley Tinsley, Rigby Police Department. “He was always the one to volunteer for everything.”
“Officer Gray was the best among men,” said Rigby Police Chief Sam Tower. “He’s a big man and he’s got a bigger heart. He is an example to all of us – honestly.”
Tower said he was thrilled and honored at the large show of support from both the community and other law enforcement agencies. He said it was the perfect tribute for Gray.
There will be a community memorial for Gray Friday, Oct. 6 at 10 a.m. at Rigby High School.