Police escort officer’s body home as community honors his memory
RIGBY – A police escort made the three-hour journey from Salt Lake City to Rigby Friday afternoon to bring the body of William Bill Gray home to rest.
The 43-year-old Rigby reserve police officer died Monday night after spending two months in the University of Utah Burn Center. Gray was seriously burned in July following a head-on crash caused by a man in a pickup truck who was fleeing police on U.S. Highway 89 in Utah.
The Utah Highway Patrol escorted Grays body and two Rigby police units to the Utah/Idaho Border. From there, Idaho State Police and other agencies continued the escort until it came to an end at Eckersell Funeral Home on Main Street in Rigby.
Other law enforcement agencies paid tribute to Gray along the way.
The Idaho Falls Fire Department set up a large blue ribbon and American flag on the I-15 Sunnyside Rd. overpass.
Dozens of people gathered along Main Street in Rigby where blue lines had been placed on business windows and blue balloons and ribbons were tied on trees.
Grays family members and friends met to pay tribute as the escort arrived.
Many stood with tears streaming down their faces as the procession made its way to the funeral home. Over a dozen police cars and fire engines from surrounding areas accompanied the escort.
Gray joined the Rigby Police Department as a volunteer reserve officer five years ago. He was also a full-time semi truck driver who loved serving the city, according to Rigby Police Chief Sam Tower.
Gray received national attention last month when, after he was admitted to the burn center, a Salt Lake City police officer arrived to conduct a blood draw to test for illicit substances in his blood. University hospital nurse Alex Wubbels refused to draw the blood, quoting hospital policy. She was arrested on the spot but later released without charges.
Towers says the police department is planning a community memorial for Gray next Friday, Oct. 6, at Rigby High School. More details will be announced later.
Two donation accounts have been set up to help the Gray family with medical and travel expenses.
In person, by mail, or via bill pay:
Zions Bank-William Gray Fund 149 W. Main Street, Rexburg, ID 83440