Retired cop in Raritan deadly DWI crash faces 3rd-degree charges
RARITAN BOROUGH — A retired police sergeant is accused of being drunk at the wheel and killing a pedestrian in a crash this past fall.
Kevin D. Betyeman, 56, of Bridgewater, now faces charges of strict liability vehicular homicide and hindering, both third-degree charges, according to the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office on Tuesday.
Borough police previously charged Betyeman with driving while intoxicated, reckless driving, careless driving and failing to yield to a pedestrian.
On Sept. 18, Betyeman was driving a 2018 Chevrolet Silverado eastbound on Old York Road when he struck and killed 60-year-old Celeste Andresen, of Arizona.
Andresen was in a well-marked crosswalk trying to cross Old York Road near Woodmere Street, police said.
Several hours after the crash, Betyeman’s blood-alcohol concentration was above the legal limit of 0.08%, though when asked by police at the scene, he denied having any alcohol or intoxicating substances, officials said.
He had retired in July 2019 as a sergeant, after 25 years with the Mountainside Police Department.
"Betyeman was not treated differently due to his prior law enforcement experience," a spokesman for the prosecutor's office said in response to New Jersey 101.5. "Raritan Police Department Officers involved in this case handled themselves in a professional manner and followed the proper protocols for this type of investigation."
If convicted of third-degree strict liability, he still could face a prison sentence, though at a lower amount than if convicted of a second degree charge.
Andresen was born and raised in the borough before moving to San Manuel, Arizona, where she lived with her husband.
Responding officers first dealt with injuries at the scene before having Betyeman perform a field sobriety test.
An assistant prosecutor applied for a search warrant, granted by a Superior Court Judge, to draw blood from Betyeman, who then was taken to a hospital for the blood sample to determine his BAC.