Today's THV is heartbroken to announce we have lost one of our own.
Matt Turner died in a crash on I-30 Saturday night. State police say his vehicle ran off the interstate and hit a highway sign.
Matt joined Today's THV in September, coming to us from television station KNWA in northwest Arkansas, where he spent nine years on the anchor desk. But he's been part of this state his whole life.
Born and reared in Arkadelphia, Matt played baseball and football for Arkadelphia High School. Being a two-year starter for the Arkadelphia Badgers led him to quarterback for Southern Mississippi, then after one year in Hattiesburg he transferred to his hometown to play starting quarterback for Ouachita Baptist University where he started dating his wife, Julee. They have a daughter, Preslee Bell, who is 10 months old.
When Matt joined Today's THV, he said, "My wife and I are coming home and now I'm a part of a television station that I grew up watching. My mom and family will see me covering the Little Rock area and that will be one of the greatest joys of my life. I'm more motivated than ever to serve my fellow Arkansans by providing informative, entertaining and quality news! I'm dedicated to making a positive difference at Today's THV and I can't wait to get started."
In his journalism career in Arkansas Matt earned several honors, including the NWA Business Journal's 40 under 40 list. He hosted statewide debates for senate and congressional races, covered breaking news, wrote, shot and produced countless stories as well as documentaries and he knew newsmakers throughout Arkansas. He took pride in the many relationships he's built with so many Arkansans, from sports figures to politicians to neighbors.
In addition to Julee and Preslee Bell, Matt is survived by his mother, Lisa, and his brother, Andy.
Matt's late father was long time pastor of 3rd Street Baptist Church in Arkadelphia.
Matt was incredibly dedicated to his family. For the first two years after the passing of his father, Matt drove from Fayetteville to Arkadelphia every weekend to be with his mother and brother. Those that knew him best know he was a great husband, dad, son, brother and friend. He genuinely cared for others.
Matt's family released the following statement Sunday morning:
"Matt always loved and protected his family and his greatest asset was his love for his daughter Preslee. He always put his family and friends ahead of himself and was constantly thinking ahead and planning on their behalf. Matt was a man of integrity and had a strong faith in God. While we are deeply saddened and feel a sense of great loss, we know that God will pull us through this very difficult time. We appreciate the support so many have already given and ask that you would remember us in your thoughts and prayers."
Julee tweeted the following note Sunday afternoon: "I appreciate the love & prayers from everyone! I can't comprehend what has happened to the love of my life. Please continue to pray for us."
Our thoughts and prayers are with Matt's family and friends.
More pages remembering the life and legacy of Matt Turner:
Turner Family blog and pictures
Photos: Remembering Matt Turner
A family slideshow put together for Matt's 30th birthday
KNWA remembers their long-time anchor, Matt Turner
THV's Mark Edwards shares fond memories of Matt Turner
Thoughts on the loss of Matt Turner by Craig O'Neill