LOWNDES COUNTY, Ga. (WTXL) - Comforting words are now pouring in from the community and from fellow law enforcement officers to the Lowndes County Sheriff's Office and to the family of a deputy killed while on duty.
Deputy Chris Butler was a beloved father, a husband, brother, and colleague, but his life cut short in crash Saturday night.
In a Facebook post, the Valdosta Police Department extended its condolences to Butler's family and to the Lowndes County Sheriff's Office, calling Butler the perfect example of the phrase, "law enforcement is a calling."
On the phone with WTXL, Lowndes County Sheriff Ashley Paulk described Butler as a people person with a passion for law enforcement. Paulk says he pursued volunteer work part-time with the sheriff's auxiliary team, and that he'd only been on the road as a deputy for a little over a year after leaving his job as a banker.
According to the Georgia State Patrol, deputy Butler was on his way to a domestic call that turned physical lights and sirens and was headed north on Cat Creek road just before 8:30 Saturday night.
That's when a semi truck traveling east on Norman Hall road was making a right turn onto Cat Creek after stopping at a stop sign. The front of the truck crossed the center line as the truck turned, putting it in the path of Butler's patrol car. The vehicles crashed.
The semi's driver, 29-year old Robbie Register, of Tifton, pulled the deputy from his burning patrol car. Deputy Butler was taken to the South Georgia Medical Center in critical condition where he died shortly thereafter.
The Georgia State Patrol Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team is investigating. Charges are pending the outcome of the investigation.