MELBOURNE, Ark. – Support is pouring in from across the state and beyond for a young Izard County sheriff’s deputy killed in an overnight crash after midnight Thursday.

Sean Hunt, 26-years-old, left behind a two-year-old son and a fiancé when, according to the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, his ATV overturned on the 1700 block of Cripple Creek Road outside Viola.

Hours after Hunt’s death, flags flew half-mast and the hallways were quiet at the Izard County Sheriff’s Office. Deputy Sean Hunt’s name was yet to be taken from the schedule or his mailbox which he’ll never be able to check.

Sheriff Charley Melton said Hunt joined the force in 2021 and his loss is being felt all over the department.

“It’s just that pit in the bottom of your stomach and you’re trying to cope with it,” Melton said.

Sheriff Melton remembers Hunt moving from Oklahoma to the area and applying for his first job in law enforcement.

Following his training with the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy, Melton said, “Right off the back everything clicked.”

“He knew how to treat people. He knew how to treat them with respect. There wasn’t a small call to him,” Melton added.

Lacy DeSmedt learned all those things firsthand when at two in the morning she met Hunt for the first time. He responded to her home when she and her children were worried about a possible fire.

“He was just kind and compassionate,” DeSmedt said. “I think he went above and beyond because I don’t think putting a battery in a smoke detector is police work.”

Hunt was also the responding deputy when Miriah McDonald realized her mother had died in her home.

“It’s natural for every detail of what feels like the worst day of your life to be engraved in your memory,” McDonald said. “People tend to remember those moments, but they also remember those who help get them through those life changing moments.” 

“We remember those who show calmness in a time of a panic and comfort in a time of heartbreak. That’s the best way I can describe Deputy Hunt,” McDonald continued. “He was a calming peace for me in a time of panic and comfort in a time of heartbreak. His genuine kindness to me, a mere stranger to him, will not be forgotten,”

Lacy DeSmedt also saw Hunt’s kindness later when he was playing in a swimming pool with his son.

“You could just tell that boy loved his daddy,” DeSmedt said. “Our community lost a good one.”

In the past 20 years, Sheriff Melton recalls seven Izard County officers have passed while wearing the badge. Many are remembered on the front office wall of their building, and Melton believes Hunt will soon join as the youngest member.

“We just need to keep his family in our prayers and thoughts,” Melton said.

A close friend of the family will be holding a crawfish boil Saturday in Viola to raise funds for the family. You can also donate here.

“There was definitely a heart behind the badge, and he made a difference,” DeSmedt said.