JEFFERSON — A 37-year-old Watertown man is facing one count each of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle and operating a vehicle with a suspended driver’s license causing death following an incident Saturday in downtown Watertown in which he allegedly ran over his friend with a pickup truck.
Killed in the incident was Keith M. Posewitz, 56, of Watertown and charged in his death was Jeffery S. Van Beem, 37, of 717 Emmet St., Watertown.
According to a criminal complaint in the matter on file at the Jefferson County Clerk of Courts Office, prior to the incident, which occurred at 1:17 a.m. in the northbound lane of the 100 block of South First Street, Van Beem and Posewitz had been drinking together at D&J’s Sports Bar and Grill on South Third Street. With them at the bar was a woman who was later the lone witness to the fatal incident.
The complaint stated that Posewitz left the bar by himself, and Van Beem and the witness later went to look for him in a 2011 Ford F350 pickup truck driven by Van Beem.
According to the complaint, Van Beem and the witness riding with him located Posewitz near the Carlton House on South First Street, but as Posewitz was attempting to enter the vehicle, he fell and was allegedly run over by the truck driven by Van Beem.
“Witness 1 said that after driving a short distance, they saw (Posewitz) leaning up against a light pole,” the complaint stated. “Witness 1 said that when the defendant turned the corner she stopped watching (Posewitz) and looked forward. Witness 1 thought (Van Beem) yelled out to (Posewitz). Witness 1 said (Van Beem) kept driving and said, ‘I think I just ran your dad over.’ Witness 1 said she told (Van Beem) to stop and he said, ‘I don’t have a license.’ Witness 1 said (Van Beem) kept driving forward and she was yelling at him to stop. Witness 1 said that she started opening her door and then the defendant finally stopped.”
A Watertown Police Department officer on patrol in the vicinity quickly arrived and attempted to render aid to Posewitz. The Watertown Fire Department EMS was also dispatched. Posewitz, however, died at the scene from what the complaint stated were significant head injuries and trauma to his back.
Van Beem put up resistance during his arrest, but was taken into custody. He was given a preliminary breath test that registered .21. The legal limit is .08.
No future court dates were set during Van Beem’s initial appearance in Jefferson County Circuit Court Wednesday afternoon.
Van Beem’s charge of operating with a suspended driver’s license causing death stems from his failure to pay a forfeiture in a December, 2021 Fond du Lac County traffic case.
If he is convicted on the two charges, Van Beem could face up to 31 years in prison and $110,000 in fines.