A North Platte fugitive was pulled from danger overnight after his car crashed into the corner of a building at Ninth and Jeffers and exploded into flames.
A Lincoln County sheriff’s deputy tried to stop the car for no license plates a few blocks away near 11th and Augusta at 2:40 a.m., but the driver sped away. He was later identified as William Butrick, 27, of North Platte.
Butrick drove south to Ninth St. and then headed east at high speed, the sheriff’s office said.
He lost control nine blocks later as he tried to turn south on Jeffers St. The car skidded sideways across the street, hit a light pole and the corner of the City Discount Liquor building. It immediately burst into flames, the sheriff’s report said.
Butrick was ejected and injured, but deputies pulled him to safety.
North Platte fire fighters arrived and put out the fire, but not before it spread into the building and caused some damage inside.
Butrick was taken to Great Plains Health with non-life threatening injuries.
Drugs and alcohol are suspected and multiple charges are pending, the sheriff’s office said Friday morning.
Butrick has a considerable criminal history. In July 2019, he was serving time for two counts of possession of a controlled substance when he escaped by failing to return to the jail after attending a meeting with a counselor. He was found four days later in Red Willow County.
He has also been charged with theft and violating probation, among other crimes, according to sheriff’s records.
Most of the damage to the building was to the exterior. A big corner window was broken, siding melted, the overhang was charred, and the sidewalk was covered in ash. The window was replaced before noon the next day.
It is presumed the window cracked from the heat of the fire since the streetlight pole took most of the impact.
Randy Richards recently bought the business from Rick Arney, who owned it for 20 years with his wife. Richards has owned the building for three-and- a-half weeks.
“We talked about putting in a drive-thru, but that’s the wrong side of the building,” Richards joked.
Richards received a phone call just after 3 a.m. from a CDL employee who lives north of the store. The employee heard sirens, saw first responders and called Richards.
City worker Walter Shimmin replaced the walk signal on the pole that the car hit. The signal box melted along with some of the wiring.
Shimmin said the entire pole might have to be replaced at some point. He said in November, another pole on the west side of the intersection was damaged by a semi-truck that was too tall. It tore down the arm holding the street light.