OVI conviction for Huron man whose fiancee was decapitated in '92 crash

Twenty years ago, Walter Butkus was charged with driving while intoxicated after surviving a Cedar Point Road wreck in which his fiancée was decapitated.
Emil Whitis
Mar 17, 2012


Twenty years ago, Walter Butkus was charged with driving while intoxicated after surviving a Cedar Point Road wreck in which his fiancée was decapitated.

A glitch in the breathalyzer test had allowed Butkus to avoid drunken driving charges, but he still pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

He served about three years in prison for the death of his fiancée, Heather Kolton, 24, of Twinsburg.

He was released from prison in 1999.

Zip forward to 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, at the intersection of Williams Street and West Cleveland Road in Huron.

Butkus, now 50, was pulled over by Huron police after they noticed the brake lights on his trailer weren’t working, a police report said.

When police told him about the problem, Butkus stumbled out of his 1998 Ford Explorer. Officers smelled alcohol on his breath, the report said.

That was easy to explain, Butkus told police — it was from a prescribed cough syrup he’d been taking.
A breathalyzer test soon revealed his blood-alcohol content was 0.232 percent, well over the legal limit of 0.08 percent, the report said.

At the time, Butkus was already on unsupervised probation from his last drunken driving conviction in 2008, police said.

When Butkus got out of prison in 1999, he went on to land three OVI convictions in Huron Municipal court — one each in 2002, 2004 and 2008.

He was also charged twice with disorderly conduct intoxicated in Sandusky, according to Sandusky Municipal Court records.

Butkus pleaded no contest to this latest OVI charge Friday.

A judge sentenced him to 180 days in jail and fined him $1,000. His license is also suspended for five years.

On Oct. 4, 1992, Butkus crashed his 1987 Chrysler Conquest on Cedar Point Road. Kolton was in the passenger seat when the car veered off the left side of the road and smashed into a telephone pole, according to Register archives. Kolton was beheaded in the collision.

“He still hasn’t got it,” Huron police Chief Bob Lippert said. “He probably never will.”



well dah why didnt they take his license for life and never let him have a car or license plates..............seems like maybe the courts screwed up too


he would probably kill somebody if he was riding a bicycle!


It doesn't matter to some people whether they have a license or not. Just like some drive without insurance, some drive with no license. The sad part of this is that the parents of Ms. Colton don't get another chance. Their child is gone. And,,, if something isn't done to keep this man off the road, another parent might lose another child, or a father, mother, etc. Mr. Butkus needs more than 180 days in jail. For every day he is in jail, another person is safe from getting killed by him.


    Only responsible property owners have to obey the law, have a license and insurance.  The system and court procedures are failing the hard working middle class.  We try and obey the laws while those with little to lose simply don't care.  Look at how many times the same people are arrested for no license.  They get right back in a car and drive again, some the same day.  They get stopped for, no lights, left of center, speeding and many driving errors that should have been avoided by a person that "needed" to drive but didn't have a license.  With the high cost of gas and insurance,  I really have fealings for those that have to get to work but are experiencing tough times.  For the "Joy" riders and those that are continually using a vehicle to steal from our stores and deal drugs, it's a whole different category.  They'd be making payments to society if I were the Judge.


Walt and Heather were a handsome, happy and fun couple.  It is very sad that the only thing Walt  took away from that experience was a young beautiful life.  They use to come into my place of employment on a regular basis and spend a hundred dollars or so on drinks and tips.  Smiling and laughing and buying rounds with friends.  Getting ready for a life together, they seemed to have the world at their feet back then.  

Both came from upper class families with good upbringing.  

After Heather was killed he really went in another direction.  He seemed to have lost his spirit and was ridden with guilt and demons from that point forward.   It is sad that he didnt use that experience to motivate him to do something positive.  

Walt needs to be taken off the streets and placed in a full on rehabilitation program before someone else is hurt or killed, including himself.  Which, I believe, is his ultimate goal. 




You should not have allowed him to buy hundreds of dollars worth of drinks.  Couldn't you see this and many other ovi's coming?  Maybe you should be held accountable for your part in this.  It must be all about the money to you.  So sad.


Transplant....Really ?????  Just because something is given to or sold to another person doesn't mean you have to take it...in this case open your mouth and drink it !  Another liberal crybaby !  Blame everyone else for the dumba$$ decisions !  It's called accountability for your own actions ! 


put him in a cell and let him pass on by his own "death by oral injection"!

Julie R.

This is so sad. Sad also that his name is smeared in the paper once again making reference to the crash in '92.

Marcus M

Why is it "sad" that his name is "smeared" he killed someone and he is a career drunk who is a danger to society!!!!!!!


just keeping an eye on the public .... from the drunk nerd with no brain!

Seen it All

It is such a shame his life has come to this.  I remember working a few summers with Walt and his side kick Frank.  What fun those two use to be!  I know he lost Frank unexpectantly just before or after that bad accident.   I am not making excuses, and I agree he needs to be taken off the road for good.  It's just sad that someone who once had so much promise, has become this.




I once worked with a Sandusky resident who had 17 DUI's. The last two were on the same night and got him a year in jail. After his year in the county jail he still kept on drinking and driving and It was only luck that he never killed anybody. And when he was sober he was the nicest guy you would ever want to meet.

I have known a bunch of alcoholics over the years and there are only two things that will stop a dedicated alcoholic from driving. Either he kills himself or he ends up in prison. Fines won't do it, short jail stays won't do it either.

Only one thing will protect the innocent citizen from these drunks. Three DUI's and then you go to prison for life, nothing else will stop them. This guy here is an excellent  example.

Good 2 B Me

Give him the Death Penalty.

For all of you that want to attack me for that statement, I am fully aware that it is not a Death Penalty Case.

Maybe if we had more, this society might have a little more respect for laws and others.



"Give him the Death Penalty" really? give the death penalty to anyone who killed anyone not on purpose? how about we import a bunch of mobile execution vans from china?  i am not defending this man because alcohol and driving does not mix. alcohol and working does not mix. what decapitated heather? the crash itself did not decapitate heather. think about all of the people who were decapitated by those two-point automatic shoulder harnesses that the law requires you to wear. look up all of the decapitations that were the result of the two-point automatic shoulder harnesses.  in most of those cases alcohol was not involved. 

Sitting In The ...

Okay but I venture to guess excessive speed was .....

Good 2 B Me

@FruGalSpender I knew someone would take it 100% seriously. That is why I put it out there that I know it is not a death penalty case. Read.

Seriously though, these idiots are allowed to continue, no matter how many DUI's, DWI's or OVI's they get. So, we need to take this junk a whole lot more serious.

Maybe if there was an actual fear of serious punishment, they might actually stop. Not likely though.

Sitting In The ...

Glad to see he learned his lesson.........look he was driving drunk when his bride to be was killed .....plain and simple. It was the seatbelt fault...hmmm...okay....whatever helps you sleep at night....sure it caused her horrific injuries but this "man" set those events in motion and  just goes to show you how much a human life matters to him .....to get in a car drunk again and possible kill someone else...so I agree give him life because he obviously don't get it.


The Temperance Movement was driven by women because they were relatively powerless victims. Women and children in the clutches of a drunk had little recourse but, fortunately, today things are somewhat better - for them.

But now we have a new class of victims, and it's even worse - they're random. Our world is now pervaded by motor vehicles. The drunk driver's victims often die, and even more often sustain gruesome life-wrecking injuries.

You are FAR more likely to be killed or injured by a drunk driver than by a terrorist.

So why do we tolerate this?

For one thing, it crept up on us; the numbers grew gradually, so we get underreaction, contrasting with our response to the stunning evens of 9/11.

Also, convicted drunk drivers are a fraternity, and conspire against reason along with the "beverage industry" lobby. With full understanding of the fallacy of over-generalizing, it's fair to say than many OVI's are unrepentant, blame others including their victims, see themselves as victims of a harsh and unfair system, and they are even wont to conspire, aided and abetted by the alcohol industy, both against judges who they find too tough on drunk drivers and legislators who would dare favor laws that would be more effective against drunk driving.

The industry over-promotes drinking and they don't pay the cost. Bars over-serve with impunity and they don't pay the cost. OVI's get the opportunity to drive drunk again even when it should be obvious that they can't be trusted.

Acohol for many is just a guilty pleasure with moderate side-effects, but carries the risk of addiction. Too many succomb, and of those too many , whether due to physiology, narcissism, or sociopathy, will never break free.

OK, so that's Factitious' analysis. The prescription will be saved for another moment of inspiriation.



Moderators have removed this comment because it contained personal attacks. Discussion Guidelines


180 days in jail is not enough because he is basically laughing at the laws, police, and judges.  He needs to be in jail for a long, long, long, long time.  And losing his his driving privileges for only 5 years after all of those previous violations is ridiculous!  He should lose his DL forever!


Leave him alone!  Here is the TRUTH.  He is an alcoholic.  And he will always will be an alcoholic.  It is NOT the BLAME of anything.  It is his OWN decision to be this way.  The monkey is on his back and he does NOT want to get rid of it.  Like none of YOU know anyone who drinks and drives or partakes in ILLEGAL drug activity.  After ALL the tragedy in his life from drinking, you would think the "reasonable" individual might wake up and figure out what the impetus is to his problems.  It is his CHOICE and NO one can do a thing about it.  I am glad the Register ran this story.  At some point, you are supposed to realize SHAME for your deviance.  A few of you mention "FEEL GOOD" liberal options like suspending his license or enjoy DEMONIZING him with self-anointed moral authority.  Here is a tip.  I know a few total, liberal losers who have LIFETIME license suspensions and NO insurance company will ever cover them!  Guess what, they still drive with impunity without insurance.  The Register ran a story about our youth failing to keep a valid driver's license.  Do ANY of you believe not allowing someone a license or registration plate is going to stop someone like this from driving?  Are you really that STUPID??  Let's review.  Illicit narcotics are illegal.  Does that stop everyone?  How about MURDER?  How about those under suspension for non-driving problems like child support, weapons on school property, civil judgments, not paying fines or narcotics violations?  Do they keep driving?  It is up to each person to decide how they want to live their lives.  This individual is NO different from the majority of liberal losers who feed off everyone else to maintain their habits in life.  This person has DECIDED to live under the obsession of addiction.  The usual comment is everyone hopes he does not end up killing someone or a loved one.  In this case that catastrophe has ALREADY occurred.  Whatever incubus he has, it will be up to him to do something about it or keep living with it.  There is SOME prison time, but no LIFE in prison without the possibility of parole so forget about that.  Notice he could NOT wait to hit the bottle after being in prison and sober the first time.


 POOR WALTER.  Pour Walter another drink as he has had chance after chance.

The Huron Police tried and tried to help him. 

His parents have been enabling him for years.  He has gone through programs, AA, driving with a contraption on his car, etc.  HE DOES NOT WANT TO STOP.

Walt is a nice guy that decided he was wronged by the world so "F^ it"   That is the way alcoholics still practicing live.  Selfish and selfcentered and DONE with anyone that comes between them and the booze.

Maybe one day he will decide SOBER IS BETTER.



Licorice Schtick

Since "Factitious" has already spelled out the problem, here's the solution:

1 - Breathalizers in ALL motor vehicles. You can't drive what you can't start.

2 - ONE MONTH MINIMUM one the first offense. ONE YEAR one the second. EXECUTION on the third. All mandatory, no exception. Well, maybe LIFE on the third, just because it's cheaper. Just until we fix that.

3 - Financially painful penalties, every time, for everyone - the more you got, the more you pay.

4 - Get RID of "TAXPAYER." That cretin would drive ANYONE to drink. HA HA



Just for the record.....Walt and Heather were not engaged!!  Heather was a friend of mine, and I know this was not in the plans.  This story was created after her death for sympathy towards Walt.  He should not be allowed out of jail.


they are NEVER going to stop this guy until he DOES kill someone else.  I don't think it is a matter of "he doesn't get it".....it's more like the "court's don't get it".  

You cannot stop a drunk from driving until they kill someone and he simply does not care.  He won't stop drinking and he just doesnt' care.  So who will it be?  I hope not me, or anyone I care about or love. 

@Licorice....if only you made the rules.....I could live with those. 

and also the breathilizer before starting the car....I could live with that one.

Or give him a bicycle only.  that would do too.  But with my luck, I would be walking and he would kill me with it. 

But we can't get rid of Taxpayer....he's the only fun I get all day....come on now, he can be a lot of fun reading when you get past the liberal nonsense....really  ha ha


 very nice. this makes me feel safe and sound. this is the intersection where i live-3 doors down. where my children (who are early teens) carefully cross the street on foot or on bikes to go to school, the library, scouts, church, practice etc.  and this man is out drinking and driving why? why is he permitted to drive? if he has no liscence whos car is it and you are responsible too!  hope does does not kill someone else's loved one. have some courtesy and GET A RIDE IF YOU ARE DRINKING! I DONT WANT MY KIDS TO BE YOUR NEXT VCTIM.


There are no answers to this dilema and never will be as long as we try to change behavior from the outside. People only change when they are moved by His spirit to do so and so far, in Walt's case, he is an empty soul who is trying to fill that emptiness with alcohol or other drugs. Pray for his soul and to keep others safe from harm.

Phil Packer

You don't even want to know how many people are driving drunk all the time.

Don S

Put him away in jail as a 3 time looser. That will keep him from hurting people on the streets.


Don't forget that Walt also got a DUI in Huron on his bicycle.  And right now he is in trouble with the law on other charges...........

If you could look up his HURON record you would see theft..........trying to blame his "old" best friends child when HE was stealing beer from the gas station.  You might also see that he had a couple domestic violences agains others, etc.  

ALL DRINKING.   Funny...........nothing happens to him when he is sober. 

Locking him up only keeps him from drinking and repairs some of the damage he has done to his body.

Alcoholism is a progressive FATAL disease.




Transplant,  I never said I served them.  I was not old enough to tend bar yet.  I did mention they were regulars and he often bought rounds for friends. 


I think his coffin will be a big beer can


his photo. looks like he is saying "ah gee whiz, not again, why do you people do this to me?"


Hopefully this guy doesn't get in a domestic dispute and hit his wife in the mouth.  Then she calls 911 and hangs up.  Then the police show up and she says the baby daughter hit her in the mouth with her bottle!  LOLOLOL!  Has a familiar tone, doesn't it chief?


This guy in not married.  

This guy has respectable, upper middle class or better parents that contnue to enable him, allow him to live in their home RENT FREE (since he has so many fines out there I am sure living expenses are out of the question)

Such a shame.  So many people that have had similar tragjedies have turned their life around and become respectful and useful human beings.  They don't drink and share their stories with others as examples of what happens when you drink and drive.  They share how their lives were hopeless and because of their determanation and dedication to letting go of the past and getting a GOD of their understanding in their lives they have become better people.    

Walt is a good BAD EXAMPLE of a disgusting person that just does not give a darn about anything including his parents that have shown him unconditional love throughout his life...............



Walter is a drunk from way back - early '80's and the Pilot House in Huron. He is also a beligerent, I'll-kick- your-a$$ kind of drunk - he just doesn't care. He exists to get the next buzz and nothing else matters. Jail time will not fix this problem child.