BENTON, Ark. (AP) — An anchor who worked for Little Rock television station KTHV was killed in a traffic crash on Interstate 30, just weeks after he left his longtime job in northwest Arkansas at KNWA-TV.
Matt Turner, 32, died Saturday in Saline County when his SUV left Interstate 30 in Benton, crashed into the concrete base of a sign and caught fire, Arkansas State Police said. No one else was in the vehicle.
KTHV issued a statement Sunday (http://is.gd/E0uAn1) that said Turner started at the station in September after eight years as an anchor at KNWA in Fayetteville.
An Arkadelphia native, Turner attended Ouachita Baptist University where he played quarterback and met his wife, Julee Turner. He also has a 10-month-old daughter, Preslee, according to the station.
Turner's family issued a statement, saying: "Matt always loved and protected his family and his greatest asset was his love for his daughter Preslee."
Colleagues and viewers flooded KTHV's Twitter feed and website with condolence notes.
The station retweeted Julee Turner's statement, which read: "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!"
The station's statement described Turner's devotion 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 Lisa and brother Andy. Those that knew him best say he was a great husband, dad, son, brother and friend. He genuinely cared for others," the statement said.
In addition to anchoring the news, Turner moderated political debates, covered breaking news and shot and produced news stories.
In a brief segment during halftime of Sunday's late-afternoon NFL game, KTHV anchors Dawn Scott and Craig O'Neill, both wearing black, announced Turner's death. Scott's voice broke as she described Turner's family.
The state police report said it was raining at the time of the crash.