Seconds before he was struck and fatally injured by a pickup truck on Interstate Rte. 95 in Arlington Sunday night, Alfred G. Butler pushed his according to a witness to the accident, wife out of the oncoming truck's path.

That is the recollection of Seaphus Gunn, 57, a friend of Butler who was in the back seat of the station wagon that Butler has stopped on the highway's shoulder minutes before.

At 6:45 p.m., about an hour after the accident, Butler, 53, manager of the California Fruit and Flowers Shop at 613 K St. NW, was pronounced dead at Arlington Hospital, of multiple injuries.

Butler's station wagon was demolished in the crash, police said, but Gunn, who was inside it, suffered only minor injuries.

The driver of the pickup truck, George Thomas Selecman Jr. 45, of 405 Davis Ford Rd., Woodbridge, an unemployed pipeline worker construction worker, was freed under $2,000 bond to charges of drunk driving and involuntary manslaughter, Arlington police said.

Gunn said that Butler, who also lived at the K Street address, was on his way to a 7-Eleven store near Shirlington Circle to buy some cookies for his 8-year-old son Jack. Butler was carrying a mattress he had bought the day before second-hand, for his son and had pulled the car onto the shoulder of the road to adjust the mattress, which was blocking his view from his rear-view mirror, Gunn said.

Butler's wife, Linda, 33, had gotten out of the car to help her husband with the mattress and their son was also standing nearby, according to Gunn, but was not in the path of the pickup truck.

The mattress, Gunn said, would have been the first bed of his own for Jack, who had hitherto slept with his parents.

The Butler's were about a mile from their destination when the accident took place, about a half-mile south of the Shirlington Circle exit.