ROGERS, Ark. (KNWA) — A community is mourning the loss of a former Benton County Sheriff who died in a recent rollover car crash.
State troopers say Kelley Cradduck, 49, hit several trees and a road sign.
It happened on Sunday (Jan. 5) along Highway 82 in Mayes County, Oklahoma.
He was able to get out of his car and walk about 200 feet before collapsing.
He was pronounced dead on scene.
His wife, Sabrina, says he recently accepted a job as a police chief in a small town in Oklahoma, and just last week had signed the papers on their new house.
The pair tied the knot in 2014, having known each other for more than 20 years.
“He ended up being the absolute love of my life,” she said.
Cradduck is remembered as a family-man who was dedicated to his career as a public servant.
“He served in Panama. He was a combat veteran. He a was a medic and in the Army,” Sabrina Cradduck said. “He’s a gang expert who was paid by the federal government to go and teach other police departments and sheriff’s departments.”
Before running for Benton County Sheriff, he was an undercover police officer in Rogers, lead the D.A.R.E. Program for Rogers Public Schools, and was a school resource officer for the district.
In addition, he started a program mentoring trouble teens and youth during the summer.
He taught free women’s self defense classes and concealed handgun classes.
“A public servant at heart. From the army, through police officer work, he was a public servant,” said Terry Thurman, a veteran and friend of Cradduck.
Thurman met Cradduck back in 1989, and recruited him to the Army.
“He was always laughing, always liked practical jokes, just an all around good guy,” he said.
But perhaps his most important role, Sabrina Cradduck says, was being a dad to six kids.
He had four biological children and two stepchildren. His youngest is 3-year-old Piper.
“She had him wrapped around her finger and she could do no wrong. His world revolved around her, literally,” she said. “Kelley would cave and buy her — even if it was his last cent, a cheap toy or sucker.”
Cradduck’s family is waiting for his official autopsy to come back.
His body has not yet been released.
Funeral services have not yet been announced.
Cradduck will be buried next to his father, who is also a veteran, at the Fayetteville National Cemetery.