Beth Ilene Freeman admitted she was talking on her cell phone and exchanging text messages when she struck Wayzata police officer William Mathews with her vehicle on Friday, killing the officer, prosecutors said.
The Hennepin County Attorney's Office on Monday charged Freeman, 54, with operating a vehicle in a grossly negligent manner, criminal vehicular homicide and operating a vehicle under the influence of a controlled substance. She also was charged with driving with a canceled driver's license
Charges say Mathews, 47, was called to Highway 12 Friday afternoon to remove a chunk of metal from the road. A few minutes later, officers heard dispatch say an officer was down. Mathews died at the hospital.
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Witnesses saw a marked Wayzata squad car with its lights flashing. One witness, identified only by his initials in the criminal complaint, said he saw Mathews bend down in the roadway and as he stood up, a Nissan Murano struck him.
The witness did not see brake lights from the Murano, nor did it swerve or make movements to avoid hitting the officer. Another witness said there was space for Freeman to move over and make room for Mathews.
An examination of Freeman's phone showed she had been actively talking on her phone, receiving texts and reading messages right before she hit Mathews, according to charges.
Investigators say they also have a video posted to Instagram by a man not identified in the complaint. It shows Freeman just after the crash saying, "I just looked up and he was there."
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is analyzing a sample of Freeman's blood. Investigators found drug paraphernalia that tested positive for the presence of cocaine.
A public funeral for Mathews, who served nine years on Wayzata's police force, is set for Thursday at Wayzata Free Church.