Off-Duty Bethel Police Sargent Was Driving Vehicle That Left One Pedestrian Dead, Injured Another

May 3, 2017

An off-duty Bethel police officer was the driver in a car accident last month that left one pedestrian injured and another dead.

Sargent Kadri Lamani collided with the two pedestrians near the intersection of Chief Eddie Hoffman Highway and Raven Court the night of April 22.

Lamani declined to comment on the incident. Bethel Police Chief Andre Achee says the department has seen no reason to discipline the officer.

“It was an off-duty incident, and we don’t see any criminal activity or anything to take any disciplinary action [on].”

It was dark and approaching midnight when Lamani struck the pedestrians along a straight section of highway at around 40 miles per hour. Chief Achee says Lamani immediately stopped his Ford Taurus, called 911, and began administering CPR to one pedestrian who was left unconscious by the blow.

That pedestrian was 49-year-old Julia Steven. She was medevacked to an Anchorage hospital where she never regained consciousness and died four days later.

The other pedestrian was taken to the emergency room in Bethel and treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

Chief Achee says Lamani was driving the speed limit when the accident occurred. His lights were on, and he was in his lane. As far as the police can tell, Lamani was not driving recklessly.

“There’s no negligence that we’re able to determine from this accident,” said Achee.

Because people got seriously hurt, Lamani was required by state law to provide a blood sample for toxicology analysis. He also volunteered to give a breath sample. The sample came up clean, indicating no alcohol in Lamani’s system.

Achee says the pedestrians might not have been sober. The Police Chief says the pedestrian with the non-life-threatening injuries said they had both been drinking. Police did not give either a breath test.

Achee says the Bethel Police have completed their investigation into the accident and have passed it to the State Troopers for review.

“So we have all our avenues covered," said Achee. "Make sure we have a clear investigation, [and] there’s no questions about the integrity of the investigation."

Achee says the police also contacted the Troopers the night of the accident, but the Troopers were busy with other calls.

The investigation is still waiting on evidence from the state: the toxicology report of Lamani’s blood sample and the autopsy report from the deceased pedestrian, Julia Steven.