The death of Cheyenne River Indian Reservation police officer Merrill Bruguier in an automobile accident was termed a tragedy for the tribe, city and county.
Eagle Butte Mayor John Bachman said, “You can’t lose an officer without it affecting everyone,” he said.
Authorities continue to investigate Bruguier’s death in a car crash Saturday morning in a one-vehicle rollover at the junction of S.D. Highway 63 and BIA Route 12 on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation. Bruguier, 37, was on duty when the accident occurred, police said.
Police Lt. Chad Olson said Bruguier worked for the department for 14 years.
“He was one of the finest officers I had ever worked with. He was well respected throughout the community,” Olson said.
Police Chief Burton In The Woods said he could not talk about the investigation Monday, but details would be released later in the week.
“He was an excellent officer. He did his work well,” In The Woods said.
Bachman said it takes a toll on the tribal police, city police and the Ziebach and Dewey counties sheriff’s offices. There are now fewer officers, but more miles for the remaining officers to travel when responding to calls, he said.
“Our city police department will honor the officer when services are arranged,” Bachman said.
Bruguier, an enrolled member of the tribe, lived in the Bear Creek Community with his wife and their 8-year-old son. He is the third member of the tribal police force to die in a vehicle accident since 2000 while patrolling the 2.9 million acres that makes up the reservation, Olson said.
Contact Jomay Steen at 394-8418 or firstname.lastname@example.org.