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Driver involved in crash that killed UNL band member was traveling 92 mph shortly before, police say

November 19, 2018

The driver involved in a crash that killed a member of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln marching band was traveling at 92 mph just before the fatal crash, Lincoln police said Friday.

Waltrivelish Watson, 29, was arrested Thursday on suspicion of motor vehicle homicide.

Tyler Butterfield, 20, was killed in the crash, which occurred about 10:30 p.m. Oct. 26 near 10th Street and Robbers Cave Road. He was a passenger in a car that collided with Watson’s vehicle.

Butterfield was pronounced dead at the scene, and five people were taken to a hospital.

A person who witnessed the crash estimated that Watson’s vehicle was going 80 mph in a 35 mph zone on Ninth Street between South and Van Dorn Streets just before the collision, Lincoln police said Friday.

Officials obtained a search warrant for Watson’s vehicle and its airbag control module. Investigators confirmed that the vehicle was traveling at 88 mph five seconds before the collision and 92 mph three seconds before, Lincoln police said. At the time of the crash, police said, the vehicle had slowed to 59 mph.

Watson told police that he was driving south on 10th Street when another vehicle pulled out in front of him and the collision occurred. Watson reported that he was traveling 40 to 45 mph before the crash, police said.

Butterfield, who was a junior at UNL, played the trumpet in the band. He was an accounting major who was regularly on the dean’s list.

At the Nov. 3 Nebraska football game against Ohio State, the Ohio State marching band paid tribute to Butterfield at halftime, forming “Tyler” after its finale. A tribute to Butterfield was read over the public-address system at Ohio Stadium.

A moment of silence for Butterfield was held at halftime during the Huskers’ game against Illinois the following week.

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