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New Bern Mayor's DWI Case Gets Continued


New Bern Mayor Lee Bettis had his DWI case continued this morning, while avoiding cameras in front of the courthouse.

Lee Bettis says he blew a 0.0 on the breathalyzer the morning he was pulled over back in May. The results of his blood test recently returned; they revealed Benzodiazepines, a psychoactive drug commonly used to treat anxiety, insomnia and seizures.

Reporters were out in front of the building in Havelock awaiting the mayor's arrival, but court officials say he and his lawyer came in through a back door.

The judge continued his case until October 3rd.

An out-of-district special prosecutor was appointed to handle the case.

Bettis, who is a lawyer, says he is not running for re-election later this year.



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District Attorney Scott Thomas says at his request, an out-of-district special prosecutor has been appointed to handle the DWI case against New Bern Mayor Lee Bettis.

Bettis was arrested back in May and charged with driving while impaired in Havelock.

The special prosecutor assigned to the case by the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts is Isaac Avery, III, of Raleigh.

The request from District Attorney Thomas to NC AOC Director Judge John Smith stated "I am requesting the appointment of an out of district prosecutor to handle the prosecution of a case in which defendant Lee W. Bettis, Jr., was charged May 6, 2013, with offenses now pending in Craven County District Court. The initial court date is July 18, 2013, in the Havelock courtroom of Craven District Court. Mr. Bettis is charged with Driving While Impaired (13CR51837), Failure to Maintain Lane Control and Failure to Obey Highway Markings (13IF702063). My office has a potential conflict in prosecuting the case due to the fact that Mr. Bettis is a criminal defense attorney in this district who regularly handles cases in the criminal courts of this district, both retained and appointed. He has frequent interaction with me and members of my staff in his professional capacity as an attorney representing his clients. It appears this case will be contested and will most likely result in a trial. Based upon the reasons outlined above and in the interests of justice, I request the appointment of an out of district prosecutor to handle the prosecution of this case."

Bettis blew a 0.0 on the breathalyzer test but failed a field sobriety test. He said a recent hip surgery caused him to fail the test.

A blood sample was taken and sent to Raleigh for analysis.

The New Bern Sun Journal reports the results from the state lab show Bettis tested negative for alcohol, but did test positive for Benzodiazepines, a psychoactive drug commonly used to treat anxiety, insomnia and seizures. The report does not indicate how much of that drug was in his system.

Bettis is due in court July 18.


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