ATKINS, AR -- Hearts are heavy in Atkins, after an officer died in an accident on his way to work Thursday evening.
Atkins police said their brother, Dolphus Schmelzla died from injuries in a motorcycle and car collision.
“I feel empty, he was my love,” said his wife, Dusty Schmelzla.
Dusty is heartbroken over the loss of her husband. Everyone knew the fallen officer as Junior.
“He was the funniest, the happiest guy in the world," Dusty said. "You could guarantee he was always smiling, he loved to cook."
Dusty says their marriage of seven years was beautiful. She describes Junior as a Christian faithful man who loved motorcycles.
“He loved riding his Harley," she said. "So he did die doing what he loved."
Police said Junior was riding his motorcycle around 9 p.m. Thursday when a car pulled out in front of him.
“Everybody’s just tore up,” said Atkins Police Chief Tim Whittenburg. “He just took care of things at night for us. He was just a super officer, we’re all going to miss him.”
Chief Whittenburg said Junior’s death is hard to deal with. It’s been especially hard on Junior’s dog Maddie. The basset hound’s been sitting by the front door waiting for her best friend to come home.
Dusty said Junior wasn’t wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. It’s something she knows could have made things a bit different today.
"As many times I've been preached to, Dusty wear your helmet, people where your helmets," Dusty said.
Funeral arrangements are set for Tuesday, Sept. 3 at 10 a.m. The service will take place at the Restoration Church on 2349 S. Elmira Avenue in Russellville.
The Southern States Police Benevolence Foundation has worked with the Atkins Police Department and established an account at River Town Bank for the family of Officer Dolphus Schmelzla.
Anyone wishing to donate can do so by contacting any branch of River Town Bank and referencing account number 1405543. All donations are tax deductible. In order to receive the 501C receipt for the tax deduction, you may contact Sam Keller with the Southern States Police Benevolence Foundation at (501) 733-8250.
If you'd like to follow Susanne's stories, click here