A 30-year-old Lincoln man pleaded no contest Monday to recklessly driving the vehicle that killed a member of the Cornhusker Marching Band in 2018.

Waltrivelish J. Watson could be sentenced next month to three years in prison by Lancaster District Judge Robert Otte. After Watson pleaded no contest, Otte found him guilty of motor vehicle homicide in the death of Tyler Butterfield of Norfolk.

Butterfield, who was a 20-year-old junior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, played the trumpet in the band. He was an accounting major who was regularly on the dean’s list.

Butterfield was killed 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 and was pronounced dead at the scene.

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.

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.

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