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Motorist gets 8-year prison sentence for striking Minnesota police officer on highway


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WAYZATA, Minn. -- A motorist who struck and killed a Wayzata police officer as he removed debris from a highway last September has been sentenced to more than eight years in prison.

Fifty-four-year-old Beth Freeman of Mound pleaded guilty to criminal vehicular homicide in the death of 47-year-old officer Bill Mathews and was sentenced to 98 months on Friday. She’ll be eligible for parole in about 5 ½ years.

She is already incarcerated at the women’s prison in Shakopee after receiving a 17-month sentence in November for felony drug possession. That prison term will be served concurrently with Friday’s sentence.

Authorities say Freeman, who already had a criminal record, was on drugs and texting behind the wheel when she hit Mathews with her SUV the the afternoon of Sept. 8. She admitted in court Friday to having used cocaine before the crash.

“I hold myself accountable for this accident and the heartbreaking results that followed where a good officer in the community lost his life and, most importantly, a wife lost her husband and a son lost his father, ” Freeman said when asked if she wanted to say anything.

In her victim impact statement, Mathews’ wife, Shawn, said, “The selfish act of getting behind the wheel without a license and (under the influence) was cold and malicious. Bill was taken in the sweet spot of his life.”

The couple’s son Wyatt, who was 7 at the time of his father’s death, wore a specially fitted Wayzata police officer’s uniform in court and told Garcia that he can no longer play with his father. “That makes me feel sad and lonely,” he said. “Her actions changed my life forever.”

Gov. Mark Dayton this month signed a bill into law designating a section of U.S. 12 within Wayzata city limits as “Officer Bill Mathews Memorial Highway.”


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should have been double that at least,i know the exact spot where Officer Mathews was hit and there is no reason other then being way too messed up to have not seen someone on or close to the road she could have saved a lot of trouble and just drove into lake Minnetonka a few miles before.

shoreline drive makes it sound like its secluded and winding,its a divided highway with clear views all the way,if she was`nt a junkie it really could`nt have happened there.

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