Reg. # 36327, Cst. Douglas Ambrose Mark BUTLER
October 16, 1982 Oxbow, Saskatchewan. Age: 21 years
Cst. Douglas Ambrose Mark BUTLER was born on December 13, 1960 at St. John’s, Newfoundland to Harold Douglas and Alice Margaret BUTLER of Upper Island Cove, Conception Bay, Newfoundland. He had three siblings; brother, Donald Christopher and sisters, Deborah Carolyn Mary and Dawn Alice. After completing his elementary education at St. Peter’s School in Upper Island Cove, he went on to graduate from Ascension Collegiate in Bay Roberts. He attended Memorial University in St. John’s for a year and then went to the College of Trades and Technology at Carbonear, where he took a mechanics course. He joined the Force on September 30, 1980 at St. John’s, Nfld. as a member of Troop 17 – 1980/81. Upon completion of his training in Regina on April 21, 1980, he was posted to Milestone, Saskatchewan and then to the Carnduff Detachment on December 1, 1981 where he was working at the time of his fatal collision. Carnduff is in the extreme southeast corner of Saskatchewan, only 16 miles from the Manitoba boundary and ten miles north of the United States border.
At approx. 1:30 am in the morning of Saturday, October 16, 1982, Cst. David DEVINE was heading west in an unmarked cruiser on the outskirts of the town of Oxbow, Saskatchewan when he saw a late model TransAm come speeding towards him with its lights on high beam. Cst. DEVINE flashed his headlights at the oncoming car, but got no response. The constable then made a U-turn on Highway #18 and chased the vehicle toward the town of Oxbow. When DEVINE passed the Pioneer Grain Elevators on the outskirts of town, he turned on his cruiser’s red fireball. As soon as he did that, the car he was pursuing immediately responded by accelerating in a cloud of dust.
As the two cars raced closer to town, DEVINE got on the police radio and determined that Cst. BUTLER was just entering Oxbow from the other end and was coming towards the fleeing automobile on Highway #18. It was shortly after this that Cst. DEVINE saw another cloud of dust ahead and was no longer able to raise Cst. BUTLER on the car radio. When Cst. DEVINE drove into the middle of town, he saw that there had been a terrible collision between the car he was chasing and BUTLER’s police cruiser. The impact had been horrendous; the front end of the TransAm was demolished and the police car was completely destroyed and lying on its roof.
After Cst. BUTLER had heard of the case from Cst. DEVINE, he had pulled his car across the roadway in order to stop the escaping vehicle. The TransAm hit BUTLER’s car broadside at an estimated 75 miles per hour with the policeman still behind the wheel. Cst. BUTLER was killed by the impact and two of the three occupants of the TransAm were also killed in the collision – including the driver, James Allan Twaine Janke.
Cst. Douglas BUTLER’s remains were escorted back to his native Newfoundland.
Funeral Services were held on Wednesday, October 20, 1982 in St. Peter’s Anglican
Church, Upper Island Cove, Nfld. He lies buried in the cemetery at Upper Island Cove. A memorial service was held in Carnduff, Sask. On Thursday, October 28, 1982.
His death was a terrible blow to his family and to his fiancee, Carolyn Morgan, a young woman from Hearts Desire. Douglas’ mother, Margaret, says, “I know I was his mother, but, just the same, he was one terrific boy. So gentle and quiet, we were all surprised when he chose the life of a policeman.” In reflection she continues, “You know, the death of your child is an experience that haunts you all of your life. It’s awful hard to cope with.” Then she quotes from an article on grieving: “It said, ‘When you bury your parents, you bury your past. When you bury a child, you bury your future.”
“I read that a long time ago,” she says, “but my goodness, it’s true.”
(Personnel File reviewed. Photo available