McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

National News

October 12, 2013

Kansas man accused of manslaughter in collision makes court appearance

ENID, Okla. — An El Dorado, Kan., man charged last month with first-degree manslaughter in the death of an Enid woman in a July collision at 10th and Garriott, made his initial appearance Thursday in Garfield County District Court.

Russell L. Butler Jr., 47, was charged Sept. 12 with the felony, which is punishable by four years to life in prison.

He surrendered himself Thursday morning and made his initial appearance on the felony charge with his attorney, Robert Faulk.

Butler was driving a 2000 Peterbilt westbound on Garriott at about 11:30 p.m. July 14, when he struck a 2000 Dodge Neon being driven by Janet L. Knight, 64, who was traveling south on 10th.

Knight was taken to St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center following the accident, where she was pronounced dead.

Keygan Knight, 2, a passenger in the car, was properly restrained in a child car seat in the back seat when the accident occurred. He was taken to St. Mary’s and then to OU Medical Center’s Children’s Hospital with head, body and leg injuries in critical condition.

According to an Enid Police Department traffic collision report, Butler is listed as failing to stop for a traffic light. The report also lists “no improper action taken by driver” for Knight’s vehicle.

Butler had told police he thought he had a green light. A witness who was behind Knight in traffic told police she and Knight “definitely” had the green light, according to the report.

The witness told police she and Knight were stopped for the light at 10th and Garriott, and when Knight pulled away, she could see the semi approaching and knew it would not stop in time because it was not slowing down, according to an affidavit filed in the case.

Bulter posted a $10,000 bond and was ordered to return to court Nov. 18 for a bond appearance.

“Mr. Butler plans to contest the charges,” Faulk said, noting there is a discrepancy about whether Butler had a red light.

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