Around 3:30pm last Saturday, a motorist called 911 reporting two people were in the Kenai River being pulled downstream while holding onto the outside of a raft near mile 52 of the Sterling Highway in Cooper Landing.
State Troopers responded and were able to contact the two individuals near the bridge at mile 53. Both individuals were wet and intoxicated.
Andrew Beitel, age 39 of Anchorage, was the operator of the vessel. He was found to be impaired by alcohol and in the initial stages of hypothermia. Troopers say he became uncooperative and belligerent and was arrested for operating under the influence and disorderly conduct.
Due to Beitel’s low body temperature and level of intoxication, he was transported to Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna for evaluation and treatment. At the hospital he bit a State Trooper and was also arrested for Fourth Degree Assault on a Police Officer.
After he was medically cleared, Beitel was remanded at the Wildwood Pretrial with a $1250 bond.