Donations are pouring in for an Oceanside Police Department dispatcher's family as she grieves the death of her husband who was killed on New Year's Day in a crash with a U.S. Marine suspected of driving under the influence.
The Oceanside Police Officers’ Association (OPOA) said the tragedy involved Christopher Dean Williams, 29, the spouse of Sarah Williams, a public safety dispatcher for the police department.
“While words cannot express the grief and pain we all feel as part of the Law Enforcement family, we all know that there will be harder days and times ahead,” the OPOA said Thursday, referring to the Williams family.
Christopher leaves behind two young boys: 8-year-old Jonathon Williams and 5-year-old Nathan Williams.
The crash happened just before 4 a.m. on Jan. 1 on eastbound State Route 76, east of Ramona Drive, in the Fallbrook area. The OPOA said Christopher, who worked as a member of the Security-EMT unit at the Pauma Casino, was riding his motorcycle home from work.
According to the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office, as Christopher approached the intersection of Ramona Drive on his motorcycle, he was met head-on by a wrong-way driver traveling eastbound in the westbound lanes.
The driver, suspected of being under the influence, crashed into Christopher. Witnesses called 911 but Christopher died at the scene from multiple blunt force injuries, the Medical Examiner confirmed.
Christopher would’ve turned 30 this May. He was a 6-year veteran of the U.S. Navy with a passion for public safety and dreams of one day pursuing a career as a firefighter.
The driver was identified as Camp Pendleton-based United States Marine Private Adam Barooshian, 25.
Barooshian is currently being held without bail at the Vista Detention Facility on several counts, including first-degree murder, felony DUI and gross vehicular manslaughter. He is due to appear in court Monday. Investigators said Barooshian has previously been convicted of a DUI.
The OPOA called the deadly accident senseless and said it was committed to helping Sarah Williams and her children get back on their feet.
“Having a member of your family ripped from your life without warning is terrible, raising two small boys on a meager public safety paycheck will be near impossible,” the association said.
The OPOA is raising money to help ease the financial strain for Sarah Williams and her boys. An online fundraising page has been established for the family. At last check Saturday morning, the account had raised nearly more than $16,500 of its $25,000 goal.
The fundraising continued Saturday morning when the OPOA hosted a pancake breakfast at Rookies Sports Bar in Oceanside. A $10 minimum donation per person was collected at the door, with all proceeds going directly to the Williams family.
The place was packed.
Sarah was there, surrounded by friends, colleagues and Oceanside residents. A lot of hugs were shared.
OPD Sgt. Jeff Brandt said the outpouring of support at the event was a beautiful thing to see.
"Chris was raised in Oceanside, as was Sarah, and they’re really members of our community," Brandt told NBC 7 Saturday. "Bringing the community together – especially in times of grief is huge – let’s bridge the gap as best as we can.”
Yoshi Ramirez said Williams was his best friend. He called him a "brother by bond" and said he misses him every day.
"Chris is just an amazing individual. He definitely had a lot of humor and comedy – he was able to make anyone laugh," Ramirez told NBC 7. "What stood out the most about Chris is he’s a family man. He put his family first, above all else."
Ramirez said the people who love Christopher are now coping with the daily pain of having him ripped from their lives in such an abrupt, unjust way.
"This is one of those tragedies that we never expected," he added. "We’re trying to wrap our heads around this situation."
If you missed Saturday's fundraiser but would still like to donate to the Williams family, you can also send donations by check to this address:
Oceanside Police Officers’ Association
4141 Avenida De La Plata
Oceanside, CA 92056
Write “For the Sarah Williams Family” in the memo section of your check.