Local News

Mayor of New Bern arrested on DWI charge

Posted May 8, 2013
Updated May 10, 2013

— The mayor of New Bern is facing charges he was driving drunk with children in the car early Monday morning. Other drivers called 911 to report the Chevrolet van moving erratically.

"This guy almost hit about six people. He is everywhere," a caller told dispatchers.

Lee Bettis, 48, asserts that he was tired but not drunk or high on drugs. "When you blow a zero on a Breathalyzer test, that should be the end of it," he said.

A police officer performed a field sobriety test and found cause to charge him with driving while intoxicated, failure to maintain lane control and a lane violation.

Bettis said recent hip replacement surgery made it hard for him to walk in a straight line. 

He consented to having his blood drawn. It will be a analyzed by the SBI lab for alcohol and any other controlled substances.

"This has been extremely difficult on my family," said Bettis. His court date is set for July 18.


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  • valleyGirl May 10, 2013

    If they get you in court they are going to charge you. They need the revenue.

  • jjsmith1973 May 9, 2013

    BTW a red face on a person that appears to be a little heavy is more a indication of high blood pressure or other medical issue than alcohol

  • sunshine1040 May 9, 2013

    Most pain meds also do not drive or operate heavy equipment while taking this medicine. Legal pain meds can also affect driving ability but you do not drive while using them. Sorry but guilty for being under the influence

  • sunshine1040 May 9, 2013

    But his lawyer will get the charges dropped. No crime committed

  • Eastern N.C. Native May 9, 2013

    whatelseisnew - The blood test will either prove or disprove that there is an IMPAIRING SUBSTANCE in the blood, but does not prove impairment itself. That will rely on testimony of driving, general indicators, and clinical indicators. People can become impaired on more than just alcohol. Apparentally this Mayor doesn't realize that.

  • jjsmith1973 May 9, 2013

    Actually a lot of people need to realize a zero on the test or a low reading in this state doesn't mean anything. They will charge you anyway. If you ever go to the court you will find this out. I went for a class paper, you will find people that blew zero, and either had blood drawn and rests were also zero or the ADA, da has lost them. Some people with a zero bac have been in court for over 4 years. One kid I interviewed for my paper case was over 4 years old and zero b.a.c. on the breath test and nothing was in his blood. Even with that information he was found guilty in district court, and was on appeal. I saw another case they just had blood drawn but had lost it, his case was three years old, the ADA said he didn't need evidence he would seek out charges for DWI just on the police testimony. The DWI system has become corrupt and has started stretching well beyond its intended purpose and slot because people jump to collusion

  • whatelseisnew May 9, 2013

    "Or that they have been out in the sun Or that they have been engaged in strenuous activities Or that they have a very fair complexion Or ... Or ... Or " .... or that they have high blood pressure.

    What does not make sense in this story is his claim that he blew a zero, yet the cop still made the charge. Perhaps the officer thought he might have been intoxicated on something other than alcohol. The blood test will prove whether or not he was impaired.

  • baldchip May 9, 2013

    Common-Sensey-call *HP the next time that happens. Make them scramble!! I do not think this governor will put up with that nonsense!! I think he will back a well documented case for the NCHP!!

    Proof is in the puddin!! I am tired of politicians who think they are above the law-all of them-Republican or DemocRAT!!

    MAKE THAT CALL!! Trust me-I will if I see one-and I'll testify in court too!!

  • knucklehead May 9, 2013

    Lee is a target for the old boys club of New Bern, and an avid sailor. I bet thats where the red face comes from. never answer questions from Police.

  • davidk_at_unc May 9, 2013

    "Look at his pink face and nose. That's often a sign that a person is a frequent drinker." -- Common_Sensey

    Or that they have been out in the sun
    Or that they have been engaged in strenuous activities
    Or that they have a very fair complexion
    Or ...
    Or ...
    Or ...