OCEANSIDE — After an Oceanside man was killed in a wrong-way crash suspected to have been caused by a drunk driver, the Oceanside Police Officers’ Association and community have come together to help his family.
Christopher Williams, 29, was on his way home from his job as a security guard and emergency medical technician at Pauma Casino around 4 a.m. on New Year’s Day, according to the Oceanside Police Officers’ Association (OPOA), which also employs his wife Sarah as a public safety dispatcher.
Adam Daniel Barooshian, 25, was allegedly speeding to the east on the westbound side of state Route 76 near Via Monserate when his Lexus IS 300 hit Christopher Williams’ motorcycle.
Christopher Williams died at the scene of the crash. Barooshian, a Camp Pendleton Marine and Massachusetts native, was taken to Palomar Medical Center for treatment of superficial injuries before he was booked into county jail in Vista on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and murder.
The Marine has a prior recent DUI charge still pending against him. His arraignment was held Jan. 4.
According to the OPOA, Christopher Williams “was tragically and senselessly killed … by a drunk driver.”
Christopher Williams is survived by his wife and two sons, Jonathon, 8, and Nathan, 5.
The association stated Sarah Williams “plays an integral part in the daily operations of keeping our city safe.”
“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 association stated. “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 police association’s goal is to help its members during hard times like what the Williams family faces. The association is currently trying to raise $25,000 to ease the burden of funeral costs and other financial needs for the family.
“The bills will need to get paid, the boys will need to get to school, and Sarah will still have to work … only harder, and without Christopher,” the association stated.
A GoFundMe page was started to help fundraise for the family. Nearly 230 people have raised more than $14,000 in four days through GoFundMe, and about $700 has been sent directly to the police association, President Jim Ridenour said.
Ridenour said he was impressed with the “overwhelming support” the association and the family have received from the community. He said Sarah Williams is also grateful for the help.
Ridenour said she wasn’t ready to talk publicly, noting that it will take the family some time to heal from this tragedy.
“She’s still a pretty strong lady,” he said. “She and her kids are getting by day by day.”
According to Ridenour, the department’s dispatchers have been hit hard over the last few months. He said another dispatcher recently lost her husband as well, and one of the dispatchers was killed in a traffic accident over Thanksgiving weekend.
Ridenour called the New Year’s Day incident “a senseless act.”
“It’s 2019 now, there’s no reason to be drinking and driving with all the Ubers and Lyfts we have, especially on New Year’s Eve,” he said, adding, “There are so many free rides out there — people will give you rides.
“A senseless act just ripped a family apart,” he continued.
Those who wish to donate to the Williams family can do so by visiting the GoFundMe page or by sending a check made out to the Oceanside Police Officers’ Association with ‘for the Sarah Williams family” written in the note section to 4141 Avenida De La Plata, Oceanside, CA 92056.
Samantha Nelson covers Oceanside, Camp Pendleton and the decommissioning San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. She earned her journalism degree from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, and has previously reported for The Athens Messenger in Athens, Ohio, and USA Today in McLean, Virginia. Follow her on Twitter: @samm1son