Cpl. William V. "Butch" Minor Jr. was one of the strongest cops in the world. The Prince George's County police officer was so tough that he taught pro hockey players how to fight.
But even Minor was mortal. Early yesterday, the 13-year member of the Prince George's Police Department was fatally injured when his patrol car overturned and spun off the road in Largo, police said.
Investigators said they were still trying to determine what caused the crash. They said Minor was off duty and driving alone on Central Avenue just west of Six Flags America about 3:20 a.m. when he lost control of his cruiser. They declined to say in which direction he was traveling, if speed was a factor or if he was wearing a seat belt.
He was taken to Prince George's Hospital Center in Cheverly, where he was pronounced dead about an hour later, police said.
Minor, 35, had become something of a celebrity among his colleagues after he received two big doses of publicity in the past week.
Last Saturday, he was profiled in the Sports section of The Washington Post after he was hired by the Washington Capitals to teach the hockey team's younger players the proper way to duke it out on the ice. "You say you're tough. You say you work out hard. Well, I want to see it!" he shouted at the players during a boxing drill.
On Thursday, he was featured in the Prince George's Journal for a different feat of strength. Earlier this month, Minor and another Prince George's police officer, Sgt. Chris Cotillo, won gold medals at the World Police and Firefighter Games in Stockholm.
Minor bench-pressed 562 pounds to win the competition in his weight class. But he told the Journal that he wasn't happy with his performance and that he couldn't sleep before the contest. "I was a great deal disappointed," he said. "I tossed and turned all night."
Minor, who weighed 265 pounds, was planning to defend his title at the next round of the games, scheduled for July 2001 in Indianapolis. The contest in Sweden attracted 5,000 police officers and firefighters from 52 countries, according to the Journal.
Prince George's Police Chief John S. Farrell said Minor tried out for the U.S. Olympic bobsled team two years ago. He called Minor's death "a big blow." Minor also worked as a boxing instructor at Bowie Racquet and Fitness Club.
Minor was assigned to the District 1 station in Hyattsville and worked as a patrol officer. He was born in Prince George's County, grew up in Seat Pleasant and graduated from Bladensburg High School in 1982. He was an Army veteran. He was married and had a 7-year-old daughter, police said.