Man Charged With 4th DUI, Vehicular Assault After Mass Casualty Auto Accident

Seaford– The Delaware State Police have arrested a Seaford man for his 4th offense DUI and multiple counts of Vehicular Assault after he was involved in a crash, according to Public Information Officer, Master Corporal Melissa Jaffe.

Jaffe said the incident occurred on November 20, 2018, at approximately 9:05 p.m. when Troopers were dispatched to a crash at the intersection of Stein Highway and Neals School Road involving two vehicles. Further investigation revealed that a Subaru Forester, driven by 50-year-old James E. Betts, was traveling eastbound on Stein Highway and entered into the westbound lane striking a Ford Explorer nearly head-on, according to Jaffe.

When rescue crews arrived on scene they reported that two vehicles, with heavy damage, were in the middle of the roadway. As crews assessed the scene they reported that seven patients, including four children, were being evaluated. Due to the number of patients, a Level One Mass Casualty Incident was then declared. That declaration would bring additional rescue resources from the surrounding area.

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At 9:29 Blades Volunteer Fire Company Ambulance B-71 transported one adult and three children, from the Ford Explorer to Nanticoke Memorial Hospital.

Laural Fire Company ambulance crews transported one adult and one child from the Explorer.

Betts was transported to Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, in serious condition, via Seaford Fire Company ambulance.

Jaffe said the operator of the Explorer, a 28-year-old male from Maryland and his 27-year-old female passenger sustained injuries but did not indicate the severity of those injuries.

Two of the children, ages 7 and 5, who were seated in the rear of the vehicle sustained major injuries, according to Jaffe. The 7-year-old was later transferred to the A.I. DuPont Hospital.

Jaffe said that during their investigation Troopers located drug paraphernalia inside of Betts’ vehicle. Jaffe added that computer check revealed that Betts had three previous DUI arrests making this his fourth offense.

After his release from the hospital, On November 30, 2018, Betts was charged with 4th Offense Driving a Vehicle Under the Influence, Vehicular Assault First Degree (2 counts), Vehicular Assault Second Degree (2 counts), and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Betts was arraigned before the Justice of the Peace Court 2 and committed to the Sussex Correctional Institution on $13,001.00 secured bond.

In their statement, Troopers did not address the other two children that were transported. Additionally, they did not release the current conditions of the other three family members that were in the Explorer.