The city of Winnsboro has one less hero tonight. One of their police officers, 34-year old Ben "Eric" Reynolds, died Saturday after losing control of his motorcycle on farm-to-market 1448.
Friends say Officer Reynolds was only 6 miles away from work when the accident happened. He was scheduled to go on duty at 4 p.m.
By Monday morning, flags across Winnsboro were flying half-staff in memory of the eight-year police veteran. "It's a tremendous loss," said Chief James Whittiker with Winnsboro P.D. "We are a small department, and Officer Reynolds was like family to us."
And Officer Reynolds has had a place in their family since 1994, when he joined the force and got a job at Winnsboro P.D. Three years later, he would leave active duty and become a reserve officer, but Officer Reynolds never strayed too far from law enforcement. By 1999, he joined the Titus County Sheriff's department full-time, and then returned to Winnsboro P.D. a year later.
"He could talk to anybody," said Lt. Mike Johnson with Winnsboro Police Dept. "He would make everyone calm and at ease."
Lt. Johnson said Reynolds also had a way with criminals. He remebers Reynolds talking people into going to jail. So few have that gift.
Now Reynold's fellow policemen have the challenge of picking up the pieces and moving on without their colleague.
"His stuff is laid out on his desk, kind of like a little memorial," said Lt. Johnson. "His badge is there. His gun belt. Some of his paperwork. It's just an empty feeling."
Customers and employees at Bodacious Bar-B-Q restaurant are also feeling that empty feeling.