Community pushes for Conway roundabout to be named after UCA student who died from overdose

Local News

CONWAY, Ark.—What looks like a regular intersection to most, is a constant reminder for one Arkansas mom of the son she lost.

In 2014, Joshua Ashley-Pauley died from a prescription drug overdose at a home off the corner of College and Donaghey.

The house has since been leveled.

“I’m glad it’s gone but it’s also kind of a weird situation where it’s like that’s the last place he was,” said Kimberly Ashley-Pauley, Joshua’s mother.

Kimberly says it’s been a painful 7 years without her son.

“It’s still hard for me as a mom and my family. That didn’t have to happen,” said Ashley-Pauley.

After her son’s death, the Joshua Ashley-Pauley Act was passed in 2015.

It provides protection to those calling 911 to help someone who is overdosing, something Joshua’s mother says nobody did for him because they were too scared they would get in trouble.

“It was senseless.  We don’t know if they called 911 if he would’ve survived or not–but he might’ve had a chance,” said Ashley-Pauley.

The City of Conway is now planning to build a roundabout at the intersection where Joshua Ashley-Pauley died.

Now, members of the community are pushing to have it named after him.

“They started tearing down the house here in January and my first thought was ‘I really hope they do something for Josh there’,” said Kenzie Liles.

Liles says she was touched by Joshua’s story and emailed a proposal to city officials, asking them to dedicate the roundabout to Ashley-Pauley. She says the goal is to bring an increased awareness to the opioid crisis in Arkansas.

“This is a great way to educate people by having this roundabout dedicated to him,” said Liles.

Kimberly says she also hopes that by memorializing him where he died, that others will come to know her son’s story too.

“He loved everything about Conway, and it would be a great representation of him,” said Kimberly Ashley-Pauley.

Construction on the roundabout will begin in the next 30 days. The City says they are in the process of putting together a city-wide plan for public art and that they are open to discussing ideas that commemorate Josh around the intersection.

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