MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A former Vikings player tweeted out the aftermath of a crash that killed a Wayzata police officer last week.
The driver accused of killing the officer will make her first appearance in court at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Beth Freeman, 54, of Mound, slammed into Officer William Mathews as he removed a chunk of metal debris from Highway 12 Friday afternoon.
Witnesses stopped to help, but couldn’t save the 47-year-old husband and father.
Police say Freeman had a canceled license.
According to criminal charges, she admitted to talking on her phone and reading text messages right before the crash. Freeman also failed a field sobriety test.
Officers say they found drug paraphernalia in her car that tested positive for cocaine.
Late last week, Tyrone Carter — a former NFL player who went to the University of Minnesota and also played on the Vikings for a few years — sent a tweet out in the aftermath of the crash. The video shows a distraught Freeman being comforted. A different version of the video Carter posted on Instagram also showed images of the officer lying in the road.
Here is a transcript of the video clip:
Off-Camera Male Voice: It’s OK, it’s OK.
Freeman: It’s not OK.
Carter: I know, but you can’t make yourself crazy right now, you gotta make sure you’re OK.
Freeman: Oh my God.
Carter: You gotta relax, you gotta relax.
Freeman: OK, OK.
Carter: Is this your car?
Carter: Did he stop somebody else?
Freeman: No, he had stopped and he was in the middle of the street. All of a sudden I looked up and he was right there. Oh my god, I’m going to jail.
Carter: You gotta relax, you gotta relax ma’am.
Freeman: I can’t go to jail.
Carter: You just got to sit down and relax. Don’t go in the road, don’t go in the road. You just gotta sit down and relax.
Carter was on Highway 12 Friday, heading home from Howard Lake.
“All of the sudden, I see cars slamming on brakes and moving out of the way, and I’m trying to figure out what the heck happened,” Carter said.
While strangers rushed to try and save Officer Mathews, Carter turned his attention to Freeman.
“I didn’t want to over crowd, everybody was doing their job there, and I hear this lady,” he said. “She was on the phone and she’s crying, she’s hysterical, she’s going crazy, she’s panicking so what I did is I turned my attention off the officer and I go to her, and she immediately grabbed me and hugged me, and I was trying to calm her down.”
Carter says he felt it was his role to withhold judgement and de-escalate the situation.
“I didn’t care about jail or what she did, I cared about calming her down at that point,” he said. “That way everyone could diffuse the situation, figure out what happened and then deal with it.”
A father himself, Carter says he can’t stop thinking about Officer Mathews and the crash.
“My reason in posting that post is allowing people around the world to realize how important life is for us, and one day you’re here, one day you’re gone,” he said.
The public is invited to attend Officer Mathews’ funeral at 11 a.m. Thursday at Wayzata Free Church.