Brant County father struggles with grief after running over and killing daughter

Jason Butler's two-year-old daughter Foster died in a Hamilton hospital several days after he accidentally ran over her with his truck, and now he's struggling to cope with the grief.

Warning: This story contains graphic details

Foster Butler, 2, died after she was run over by her father's truck on Christmas Day while he tried to move it in the driveway of the family home just west of Brantford, Ont. (GoFundMe.com/Butler family)

In a split second on Christmas Day, Jason Butler's life changed forever.

The Brant County father is trying to figure out how to pick up the pieces after he accidentally ran over his daughter with his truck.

Two-year-old Foster Butler was in a coma and died in a Hamilton hospital on New Year's Day.

Now, amid an investigation by Ontario Provincial Police, Butler has to figure out how to live with his grief.

"It happened so quick. It's like it wasn't real," he told told CBC News.

"There was just this disbelief rushing into my mind that this could be happening."

She said hi to everyone and was just so happy and full of joy.- Jason Butler says of 2-year-old daughter

The incident happened in the driveway of his home on Highway 53, just west of Brantford, around noon, Brant County OPP say.

Butler was about to take his kids back to their mother's home, but his truck was parked as close as he could get it to the side of the house for a party on Christmas Eve the night before, so there wasn't room for them to get in.

He said he told Foster and her four-year-old brother to stand back from the truck so he could get in and move it enough for them to jump in. He started it up and began to move it.

"I felt the truck having to work harder to go forward, which was unusual because there should have been nothing in front of me," Butler said.

"I opened the door and looked down, and I could see my daughter's feet coming out of the back side of the driver's side tire."

Trying to save a young life

Panic immediately set in. Butler said he jumped out of the moving truck and scooped up his daughter before she was run over again by the rear tires. With his daughter in his arms, he ran after the truck. 

He then jumped in the truck, slammed it in park, and put her in the driver's seat. Butler said he dialled 911, and his fiancée began giving his daughter CPR.

Foster was in a coma in a Hamilton hospital and died New Year's Day after being taken off life-support. (Glendinning Funeral Home)

Volunteer firefighters arrived first, followed a short time later by paramedics. Foster was rushed to a Brantford hospital before being airlifted to McMaster Children's Hospital. She underwent a CT scan, which showed there was a lot of bleeding on her brain, Butler said.

"Her skull was fractured from ear to ear."

With trauma to the frontal lobe of her brain, Foster slipped into a coma.

'We didn't want her to suffer'

Days later, Butler and his ex-wife made the decision to take her off life-support and donate her organs, he said.

"We didn't want her to suffer anymore."

Now, the family is left with memories of a "little troublemaker" who loved animals and riding around in a little toy pink four-wheeler.

"She said hi to everyone and was just so happy and full of joy," Butler said through tears.

"It was an accident. It is what it is ... I'm not saying this for sympathy, but for people to just know you should keep your eyes on your kids at all times."

Brant County OPP said Foster's death is still being investigated, but officials said it "doesn't appear to be going anywhere."

adam.carter@cbc.ca

About the Author

Adam Carter

Reporter, CBC Hamilton

Adam Carter is a Newfoundlander who now calls Hamilton home. He enjoys a good story and playing loud music in dank bars. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamCarterCBC or drop him an email at adam.carter@cbc.ca.