Driver who fatally struck Wayzata police officer was on cocaine

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Beth Freeman of Mound, Minnesota is the suspected driver in the fatal crash. Photo Courtesy: Hennepin County Jail

A toxicology report shows the woman charged for fatally hitting a Wayzata, Minnesota police officer with a vehicle was on cocaine when the crash happened.

It was just over a month ago that 54-year-old Beth Freeman hit and killed Officer Bill Mathews as he was clearing debris from Highway 12 in Wayzata.

Monday, Freeman appeared before a judge with her defense attorney who pushed for her $500,000 bail to be dropped and changed to house arrest. The judge disagreed and ordered the bail to remain in place. 

Her attorney argued she was not a flight risk because she was the primary caregiver for her roommate and it was noted she had incredible support from her church. In fact, many of those supporters were in the courtroom during the proceedings.

But Freeman's probation officer supported her incarceration saying she was concerned about public safety and that Freeman has an ongoing drug problem. The prosecution added she has a “staggering” number of drug crimes and was on probation for a DWI at the time of this latest incident. He also said she had significant public safety concerns.

Witnesses said Freeman got out of her vehicle after the crash and kept saying, “What have I done?” according to the charges. She reportedly had to be told to move her car off the victim because her front tire was still resting on him.

Investigators found evidence that Freeman was under the influence of controlled substances at the time of the crash, the charges said. Drug paraphernalia found in her car tested positive for cocaine, according to a search warrant. She also admitted to talking on the phone and receiving text messages before striking Mathews.

Freeman was on probation for a felony drug possession conviction and was not legally allowed to drive at the time of the crash. Officer Mathews was removing debris from Highway 12 near Broadway Avenue in Wayzata when it happened.

Officer Mathews had turned on the flashing emergency lights on his squad car to indicate that traffic should move over for him. A witness said Freeman did not swerve or make any movements to avoid hitting the officer.

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