Charges: Influence of Controlled Substance 'Evident' in Driver Who Hit, Killed Wayzata Officer

September 11, 2017 06:30 PM

The woman accused of driving the vehicle that hit and killed a Wayzata police officer Friday has been charged with two counts of criminal vehicular homicide and one count of driving after cancellation of her driver's license.

Beth Freeman is scheduled to make her first court appearance at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. A release from the Hennepin County Attorney's Office said prosecutors will ask bail be set at $500,000.


The criminal complaint against Freeman was released Monday. It states field sobriety tests were not administered until around an hour and 15 minutes after the vehicle she was driving struck Wayzata Police Officer Bill Mathews, whom the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office said Monday died from multiple blunt force injuries.

RELATED: Funeral Schedule Set for Wayzata Police Officer Killed Friday

Those tests, however, allegedly indicated the influence of a controlled substance was "evident." Those signs reportedly included an elevated pulse, constricted pupils and difficulty counting backward. It also alleges a search warrant was obtained for her vehicle, and that search turned up drug paraphernalia from the passenger glove compartment, which tested positive for the presence of cocaine.

The complaint also alleges that in a post-Miranda interview, Freeman admitted to talking on her phone and receiving text messages prior to the incident.

RELATED: Community, Police Help Wayzata Heal After Officer's Death

Mathews was struck and killed on U.S. Hwy. 12 as he was picking up debris off the road. The complaint states he was dispatched to a report of a "chunk of metal" in the road at around 12:26 p.m. Friday. About four minutes later, an "officer down" call came over the dispatch.

First responders attempted CPR, but Mathews was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.

RELATED: Driver Suspected of Hitting, Killing Wayzata Officer had License Revoked

According to the complaint, a witness said Freeman, 54, was outside her vehicle and allegedly repeating "What have I done?" That witness reportedly told authorities a front tire of Freeman's Nissan Murano was still resting on Mathews, and he told her to get back in her vehicle and back up.

Another witness allegedly said Mathews was walking back to his squad car when he was hit. While another witness said she was traveling eastbound on Hwy. 12 in the far right lane when she observed the emergency lights on Mathews' squad car.

RELATED: 'He Knew Everyone': Wayzata Officer Hit, Killed Clearing Debris from Highway

She said she slowed her speed and moved into the center lane. She then reportedly said she became aware of the Nissan Murano in the right lane passing her, and she estimated the Murano was traveling around 65 miles per hour when it struck Mathews.

The complaint also states Freeman has prior convictions for driving while intoxicated and narcotics-related offenses.

The funeral schedule for Mathews was also announced Monday.

RELATED: Funeral Scheduled for Police Officer Killed Friday

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety said there will be a visitation for Mathews from 3 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Wayzata Free Church, located at 705 County Road 101 in Plymouth.

The funeral itself is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday at the same location. Burial will follow at the Summit Park Cemetery in Wayzata. The DPS said the public is welcome to attend.


Frank Rajkowski

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