Bethea, 26, was the subject of a two-county high-speed chase Sept. 26, 2001. Bladen County Sheriff's Deputy Jamie Collins was killed when the Clarkton Police Car in which he was riding crashed during the chase.
Bethea wrecked his 1989 Toyota a few yards away.
The crash occurred behind the former East Bladen High School campus, on Newkirk Street, in Elizabethtown.
Bethea allegedly fled when an Elizabethtown Police officer attempted to perform a traffic stop around 2 a.m.
The chase went south on U.S. 701, through Clarkton and into Columbus County.
Bethea then returned to Elizabethtown, being pursued by N.C. State Highway Patrol Troopers, Bladen County Sheriff's Deputies, Clarkton Police, and Elizabethtown Police.
Bethea was clocked at nearly 100 miles per hour during the chase.
Collins was assisting Clarkton Police Chief Joey Blackburn on a call earlier that evening when they received radio reports that Bethea was headed toward Clarkton.
When the chase entered Clarkton, Blackburn took up the pursuit, with Collins still riding in the passenger seat.
Both cars went out of control on a series of sharp curves on Newkirk Street, between U.S. 701 and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Neither Bethea nor Blackburn were seriously injured.
Collins later died of his injuries at Bladen County Hospital.
Friends and fellow officers erected a cross and permanent memorial to Collins on the curve where the wreck occurred.
Collins is survived by his wife, Tiffany Little Collins, and two young sons, his parents and grandparents.
Collins lived in Clarkton, and worked for the Whiteville and Elizabethtown Police Departments before joining the Bladen County Sheriff''s Department. He was also a member of the Lisbon Volunteer Fire Department.
Assistant District Attorney Lee Bollinger is handling the case.
Bethea lives at 791 Berry Lewis Lane, Bladenboro.
Bethea was charged with second degree murder, driving left of center, speeding, driving while license revoked, expired registration, careless and reckless driving, speeding to elude arrest, and a traffic device violation. He is out on $50,000 bond.
Collins was the second Bladen county law officer to die in the line of duty during 2001.
Bladenboro Police Officer Brian Joe Ramey was killed in May during a high speed chase that also killed the suspect.