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Man recalls 'life-changing' experience with LPD officer recovering from shooting

A Lafayette man recalls his interaction with LPD Officer Lane Butler after he was pulled over on his way to an AA meeting. Butler was accidentally shot when a fellow officer's gun discharged on a call in January.

Posted: Mar 21, 2019 7:00 AM
Updated: Mar 21, 2019 11:27 AM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - We've all been in a traffic stop where we've wanted some mercy. In June of 2015, a Lafayette man was speeding to make it to an important meeting. Little did he know, the officer who pulled him over would make what he calls a "life-changing" impact. Now, he's sharing his support of her in a time when she needs it most.

Mark Farrell is the manager of the West Lafayette post office.

"You truly never know what's going to come through that door," said Farrell. "It could be a 10-foot kayak or a kid shipping his stuff from West Lafayette to northern California to begin his career. You will not find a happier post office than this one right here."

Mark hasn't always been this happy.

"I had reached a point where I was just drinking a little too heavily," he said. "My family and I decided the best course of action for me was to go into rehab treatment."

In fact, he was on his way to one of those treatments in June 2015. He had a goal of attending 90 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in 90 days. What happened next, he said changed his life.

"I knew I was running late," said Farrell. "So, I'm driving down Rome Drive and I am speeding. I know I'm speeding."

That's when a police car pulled up behind him.

"I'm sitting there thinking 'Wow, I just missed my meeting. I can not believe this happened. I'm so new to sobriety.'"

With the lights flashing in his rear view mirror, out comes Officer Lane Butler.

"She goes 'Do you know why I pulled you over?' I said 'yeah, I'm speeding. But I'm trying to make my AA meeting and I need to be there by 8:00."

As Officer Butler took Mark's ID back to her car, he had one thought.

"'It's like a $100 fine, okay. I'm not worried about the money, I'm more upset I'm going to miss my meeting.'"

What happened next, surprised him.

"She goes, 'Mark, I'm not going to give you a ticket today, but I want to wish you the best with your sobriety and I want to wish you good luck,'" Farrell recalled.

Mark wanted to share her goodness with others. He asked Officer Butler to take a selfie. It's a picture he cherishes, especially right now.

Butler was accidentally shot when a fellow officer's gun discharged on a call in January. She's still recovering, and is expected to retun in four to six weeks, according to Chief Pat Flannelly.

"I worried so much for her," said Farrell when he found out about the shooting. "I prayed for her. I thought about her. She truly is a wonderful individual and a great representative of our local law enforcement."

Mark is now two years sober, and said it's absolutely worth it.

"She truly changed a life on that random Saturday."

If you're struggling with alcoholism or any other addictions, there are people that can help. Indiana 211 is a 24/7, confidential number that provides quick referrals to anyone in need of human services. Dial 2-1-1 or 1 (866) 211-9966. They will help match you with local providers who can help your specific need.

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