Bethel police officers arrested Bethel City Council Member Fritz Charles for driving while intoxicated on Sunday, June 2, 2019.
Alaska State Troopers saw Charles and a passenger parked in front of Crowley Fuels. The troopers suspected the pair was intoxicated and began talking with them. When Bethel Police Officers arrived, Charles refused a chemical sobriety test, which is a misdemeanor offense.
Police booked Charles into the Yukon-Kuskokwim Correctional Center at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, and he was still in jail as of this afternoon. His court hearing will be held Wednesday at 9:00 a.m.
This is not the first time Charles has had trouble with the law regarding drinking and driving. He was charged with driving while intoxicated in 2002; he pled no contest.
The Bethel Municipal Code has no conduct provisions for city council members regarding DUIs.
During the previous council meeting, Charles spoke on the issue of DUI with this piece of advice for the public: “Please, if you’re going to be drinking and driving, wait until you get to your destination. Then start drinking.”
This is a developing story, and KYUK's coverage is ongoing.
Correction: Charles' court hearing date has been corrected. An earlier version of this story stated the hearing would be June 3. The date was changed in the court calendar.