White Co deputy kills Harding student with vehicle

(KATV) Searcy - An on-duty White County deputy hit a cyclist at about 9 p.m. Thursday night. The victim, a Harding University graduate student died early Friday morning. The collision happened on Booth Road in Searcy.

Courtney Book is from Massachusetts, the youngest of five girls. Her sisters also graduate from Harding. Courtney was currently getting her Masters in Education.

Elisa Hester says, "Biking is her mode of transportation. It is how she got from her apartment to work and she would get her groceries on her bike. She never liked to inconvenience people. She always wanted to make sure she had a way to get around and even if it meant walking, she would do it."

Elisa and Courtney met as freshmen in 2008. They graduated in 2012. "We continued to stay in touch even after we graduated. She went to grad school and she is just an amazing person."

Thursday night, Elisa got a call from a mutual friend explaining that Courtney was in a serious accident.

State police tell Channel Seven a deputy in a patrol car was driving down Booth Road. The only other detail released is that he hit the rear bike tire.

Elisa explains, "I traveled with her to UAMS. My mom and I definitely wanted to be there just in case. We didn't want her to be alone ever."

Elisa stayed in the waiting room, praying she'd get to see Courtney. "She had the biggest heart I've ever seen in my life." But her friend never made it out of critical condition. According to State Police, she died at about 2 a.m. Friday.

"She just wanted to make sure you knew you were loved and you could just tell she had God in her. She has definitely impacted my life."

Courtney Book's family lives in Maine. They will arrive in Arkansas Friday night.

According to the Daily Citizen newspaper in Searcy, Lt. Brandon Grimes was driving the vehicle.

Stay with Channel Seven for developments in the state police investigation.