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Maryland man convicted of DUI, drug charges after 2021 traffic stop on I-81 in Cumberland County

Jason Bethune, 37, of Hagerstown, did not show up for trial but was convicted in absentia of DUI and possession with intent to deliver cocaine, prosecutors said.
Credit: Cumberland County District Attorney's Office
Jason Bethune

CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. — A Maryland man was convicted in absentia of multiple DUI and drug-related charges stemming from a 2021 traffic stop on Interstate 81 in Cumberland County, prosecutors said Friday.

Jason Elijah Bethune, 37, of Hagerstown, did not appear for trial in Cumberland County Court, the county district attorney's office said Friday. But he was still convicted of driving under the influence of marijuana and alcohol and possession with intent to deliver cocaine.

According to testimony, State Police Trooper Christina Fow pulled over Bethune on April 8, 2021 after Bethune nearly collided with a tractor trailer while traveling south on I-81 in South Newtown Township.

During the stop, Fow observed marijuana in plain view in Bethune's vehicle, and Bethune's behavior indicated he could be under the influence of intoxicating substances.

Bethune admitted to drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana before driving, prosecutors said. During the traffic stop,he leaned on the front bumper of the State Police patrol vehicle in order to conceal a bag containing a white substance in the area of the vehicle’s push bumper. 

As Fow was arresting Bethune, she observed the bag, recognized it as a controlled substance and seized it. 

Analysis on Bethune’s blood revealed the presence of marijuana and alcohol in his system, and analysis of the white substance he tried to hide in the bumper confirmed it to be nearly 75g of cocaine, prosecutors said.

Bethune will be sentenced at a hearing scheduled for Oct. 4, according to prosecutors.

But investigators are still attempting to locate Bethune, who failed to appear in court for a separate DUI matter in addition to the proceedings in this case. Bench warrants for his arrest have been issued, according to police.

Anyone with information about Bethune’s whereabouts should call the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office at (717) 240-6390 or the District Attorney's Office at (717) 240-6210. 

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