Mayor Karen Williams drink drove after speaking to families who’d lost loved ones to drunk drivers
A mayor who drank ‘several’ glasses of wine before driving her car into a tree had spoken to the families of victims killed by drunk drivers an hour before the accident.
Redlands City Council Mayor Karen Williams slammed into the tree at about 9 p.m. Thursday after she hit a road in Cleveland, east of Brisbane.
Less than an hour earlier, Cr Williams had a Zoom meeting with the families of Matt Field and Hayley Russell – both killed by drunk drivers in separate incidents in Queensland.
The mayor has apologized for her “error of judgement,” but Mrs. Russell’s mother and road safety attorney Judy Lindsay now says she doesn’t want anything to do with her.
Karen Williams, mayor of Redlands City Council in southeastern Brisbane, said she made an error of judgment when she crashed her car Thursday night after drinking “several glasses of wine”.
Judy Lindsay (pictured left) has campaigned for road safety since her own daughter was killed by a drunk driver on Redland Road in 2009.
“She called me Friday night, the day after the accident, crying and saying she was sorry for what she had done, but I told her there was no excuse for her actions,” Ms Lindsay said. The courier post†
“I was so disgusted, I told her I could never get in touch with her again and called on her to resign as mayor.”
Cr Williams had approached Ms. Lindsay to raise awareness for safer roads, congratulating her on her own petition and road safety program.
Ms Lindsay said the mayor had told her she wanted to “clean up Redlands” with tougher penalties for drunk drivers.
“She told me at the zoom meeting that she was so sorry for my daughter’s death and within an hour she had crashed her car and admitted she had been drinking,” she added.
Ms Lindsay’s daughter, Hayley, died at the age of 20 after being hit by a drunk driver in 2009.
Cr Williams fought back tears as she faced the media and said she would continue to try to work with the families and others in the community to make the roads safer.
She was asked whether the meeting with the families of the drink-driving victims ‘hadn’t meant anything to her’ on Saturday.
Mayor Williams has apologized for her actions and said there are ‘no excuses’
“I am absolutely committed to making our community safer. I appreciate that those people have been through difficult times and I will remain committed to working with everyone who wants to make this community a safer place,” the mayor said in a statement.
However, Cr Williams said she would continue to serve as mayor.
“I will continue to serve my community the way I have for the past 18 years to make this a better place,” she said.
“There are no excuses for my actions.
Labor MP Don Brown (pictured) called on Cr Williams to resign after news broke that she had run into a tree
“I am deeply sorry and I will bear the consequences as I move forward and I will continue to assist the police with their investigation.
“I promised those families that I would continue to work with them to ensure that the Youth Justice Act reflects what our community requires and expects.”
State Labor MP Don Brown for Capalaba’s overlapping seat called on the mayor to resign, adding to comments from Police Secretary Mark Ryan for Cr Williams to face the consequences.
Karen Williams has to step down today. You can’t be hard on drunk young drivers and then be soft on yourself,” Brown said on social media.
In response to early reports, Mr Brown had said, ‘If (the reports) are true, then she must go. Especially after campaigning against a drunk driver who killed Matt, Kate and Miles.
Mr Ryan said the police investigation is continuing but people should “go ahead and talk”.
“So for people who you know are road safety advocates, they also have to be responsible people for road safety themselves,” he said.
On Friday, the mayor admitted to drinking “several” glasses of wine before driving her car into a tree, just hours after she released her council’s budget.
In a sad statement, the mayor said: “I made a serious error of judgment last night and started driving after drinking several glasses of wine.
“I am deeply sorry for my actions and incredibly grateful that no one else was involved or injured.
“I will seek advice and continue to assist the police in their investigation.”
No charges have been filed while the investigation continues.
Cr Williams was in the media earlier in June after launching a petition for safer roads following a ‘mild’ sentence for a teenager who was intoxicated, who killed a couple and their unborn son.
Cr Williams was in the media earlier in June after launching a petition for safer roads following a ‘mild’ sentence for a teenager who was intoxicated, who killed Kate Leadbetter, Matt Field and their unborn son.
The 18-year-old was convicted this year of manslaughter for the horror 2021 Australia Day deaths of Matthew Field, Kate Leadbetter and their unborn son Miles.
The driver, who was 17 at the time, was under the influence of drugs and alcohol when he got behind the wheel and collided with the couple walking their dogs in Alexandra Hills.
The teen who cannot be named because he was convicted as a minor was sentenced to 10 years in prison on a dozen charges.
However, the judge has ordered his release after serving six years, given his “sincere remorse”, early admission of guilt and steps towards rehabilitation.
Cr Williams was the main petitioner calling for an appeal against his sentence.
The petition labeled a six-year prison term ‘manifestly inadequate’ for the teen and Calls on the Queensland Legislative Assembly to ‘ask the Attorney General to appeal this verdict’ and ‘make changes to the law to curb juvenile delinquency, including reintroducing bail violations.”
The petition was posted on June 10 and has 54,000 signatures.
Police were called to a Cleveland intersection where they found the road safety fighter and tested her breath