Former Rotary president and alleged bank robber dies in crash

February 3, 2014

clay watkinsThe California Highway Patrol has identified the person who died after he crashed his RV over the side of a cliff on Highway 1 on Sunday as Arthur McClay Watkins, 56, of Arroyo Grande.

Watkins, a former president of the Arroyo Grande Rotary Club, was arrested in November for allegedly robbing a Wells Fargo Bank in Santa Maria. Watkins was a board-certified family and marriage therapist who was court ordered in December to stop practicing.

At about 2:30 p.m., Cal Fire responded to a report of a motor home that had crashed over the side of a cliff about 1/2 mile south of Ragged Point and found the motor home completely destroyed, about 600 feet down the side of the cliff.

Watkins was scheduled to be back in court on bank robbery charges on Thursday.

Several days before he died Watkins posted the following video about his life on YouTube.


Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I thought the video was a very upbeat chronology of his life and how much he enjoyed living. I would love to have heard the next installment of his life history. You could tell he really loved his wife and children. That’s probably why he stopped the video abruptly – he couldn’t keep himself from breaking down. R.I.P. Mr. Watkins

Suicide — if that is what we have going on here — is an inherently selfish act.

Maybe he had a policy that still pays off in case of suicide… then he leaves the family with something.

I did not know Mr. Watkins. I feel sorry for him and his family.

We will continue to see more stories of these desperate acts … of suicides and other tragic ends.

This society, this world we are in is SICK ! Actually , it is dying.

We have an ultra-rich unconcerned and uncaring in their sphere of extravagance, pleasure, and apathy.

Then, we have everyone else; in various slave states of survival, or consumed with trivialities of sport or entertainment nonsense.

You’re all dead and don’t know it.

Poor Mr. Watkins made a final choice.

This whole story makes me sad. I am sad for Clay and I am mostly sad for his family. I have a feeling there is more to this story than anyone unrelated to his family can know or understand. I don’t feel right jumping to conclusions that this video is some sort of suicide note. This could also be a video of a man facing years in prison. Clearly he made a poor choice, and we have no idea why that choice was made. No matter what the circumstances are, Clay had a family. A young family with two children who don’t deserve to have their father’s memory torn apart. This community should rally around this family in hopes that his children can move on and have happy memories about their father.

I believe Mr. Watkins just presented his own Eulogy. Very sad indeed. A tragedy to say the least.

My condolences to the family and loved ones.

Yes. I found the inclusion of this video to be somewhat macabre. Best wishes to the family, and sorry you had to endure both the loss and the gratuitous posting of this video.

Clearly, Watkins intended for the video to be broadcast to others.

I don’t see this to at all be gratuitous. If you don’t like the content, criticize the source…or simply accept it as being “it is what it is.”

I’m not sure there is anything gratuitous about this video. Rather, this a a very intimate few moments into a very troubled, pain filled human being who obviously is on the brink of desperation for reasons we may never understand.

My only hope is that none of you ever feel this kind of hopelessness and desperation that would lead you to this end.

Sympathy for Mr. Watkins and condolences and prayers to his family. Very painful situation and ending.