By Mindy Ragan Wood
Piedmont’s Acting Mayor and mayoral candidate Bobby Williamson’s actions left a woman dead following a DUI collision 32 years ago today, according to an out-of-state law enforcement official and a published report.
Williamson disclosed that he pleaded guilty or was convicted of but did not speak about it publicly before or during his campaign. Knowledge of the incident hit social media Friday following the mayoral forum the night before. He did not return calls for comment by late Friday.
More details were uncovered during an interview with the Clamackas County District Attorney’s Office which handled the case in 1987. Clamackas County Chief Deputy District Attorney Chris Owen said Williamson was driving under the influence of intoxicants when the woman was killed.
“This was a DUI case,” Owen said. “He pleaded guilty to manslaughter, which under Oregon law is defined as recklessly causing the death of another person.”
A newspaper article from the Lake Oswego Review in Oregon dated April 7, 1987, shed more light on what happened that fateful day.
The accident occurred at the Sucker Creek Bridge on State Street on April 1 around 8:25 p.m. Williamson struck the right curb and the bridge guard rail, a police officer told the newspaper at the time. The incident was a single-vehicle accident.
Williamson and a passenger, Fawn Dannett Velasquez, 20, of Portland were injured but Ordine Diane “Dee-Dee” McLoud, 36, of Forrest Grove, was thrown from the side window of the car. She was taken by helicopter to Emmanuel Hospital and was pronounced dead on arrival. Police did not believe she was wearing her seat belt.
Williamson was treated for a head injury and dislocated shoulder at Oregon Health Sciences University Hospital and Velasquez was treated for multiple abrasions at Meridian Park Hospital.
It was not known why Williamson was in Oregon or how he knew the victims. After consulting with his “campaign team,” Williamson directed the Piedmont-Surrey Gazette to a statement posted to his Facebook page March 29.
“Yes, as I clearly stated on my application to run for Mayor of the City of Piedmont, 35 years ago, I made a bad decision,” he wrote. “It cost the life of a close friend. When that happened, I owned up to my mistake, took responsibility for it, and I have never sought to hide it or lie about it. It is a period in my life of which I am not proud, and I carry its burden with me to this day. It would have been very easy to lie about something that happened so long ago and so far away, but I did not. That is the transparency I have displayed serving on the City Council, and the transparency that I bring to this race.”
Williamson’s statement pointed to a life changed.
“Since that time, I have married a wonderful, intelligent woman who is aware of all of my personal short-comings and loves me anyway. I wish you all to be so fortunate. Together, we have raised four boys of whom I am very proud. We are active in our church, and through the City Council, I have worked to make Piedmont a community that we can all be proud of,” he wrote. “That is all the conversation that this attempt at drama deserves, and I’ll discuss it no further. We should all be concentrating on what is best for the future for the City of Piedmont.”