October 6, 1933: Officer Butchart Killed by Motorist

On this day in Duluth in 1933, 70-year-old Duluth police sergeant David Butchart was struck and killed by a car at 11:30 p.m. Butchart and other officers were stopping cars trying to find an automobile that was stolen while an eight-year-old boy was asleep inside—police were treating it as a kidnapping. The driver was found at his home six hours later and admitted that he had fled the scene. David Butchart joined the Duluth Police Department in 1899 when he was already 37 years old. He was assigned as a jailer and a patrolman until 1912, when he was promoted to sergeant. In 1917 he was promoted again, this time to municipal court officer, a position he held until 1931, when he was 69 years old. Replaced by a younger officer, Butchart refused to retire and was reassigned to the Gary-New Duluth station, where he was working the night he was struck. He was the fourth Duluth Police Officer to die in the line of duty. Butchart came from a family of law enforcers. His brother W. W. Butchart was St. Louis County Sheriff from 1894 to 1896 and again from 1902 to 1904 and was succeeded by his son Walter, David Butchart’s nephew. In 1921 Butchart’s wife Jessie was elected as Deputy Sheriff apparently dealing only with female criminals, as the newspaper said her creed would be to “keep girls out of jail—and out of trouble!”

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