Woman charged with manslaughter in deadly crash

October 1, 2016
Bridget Dawson

Bridget Dawson

The San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office filed a misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charge against the woman whose car struck and killed a bicyclist on Highway 227 in July.

On July 14 shortly before 7 p.m., a vehicle driven by 53-year-old Lisa Smith of Oceano drifted onto the shoulder where 58-year-old Bridget Dawson of San Luis Obispo was riding her bike. Dawson was pronounced dead less than an hour later at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center.

It is unclear what caused the vehicle Smith was driving to drift onto the shoulder of the road. Investigators do not believe Smith was texting or on the phone at the time of the accident. In addition, drugs and alcohol do not appear to have played a factor in the fatal collision.

Smith’s arraignment is scheduled for Oct. 18. She faces up to one year in the county jail if convicted.



  1. Jorge Estrada says:

    I do not understand why but often I have noticed that drivers seem to drift towards vehicles that are trying to merge onto the highway. You would think that they would pull to the left side of the traveled lane but actually they drift toward the target. I would find it unsafe to wear a flashing light will bicycling because of this target awareness that seems to be a subconscious reflex.

    (0) 4 Total Votes - 2 up - 2 down
  2. still laughing says:

    When passing a bicyclist you should always give them a wide berth. Driving has responsibilities that come with the privilege . You might feel different if it were your loved one.

    (5) 5 Total Votes - 5 up - 0 down
  3. mej says:

    This was an accident. Terrible judgement on the part DA’s office. Very unfortunate, but a gust of wind or a pothole in our terrible roads could have made her car drift.

    Politically motivated.

    (-1) 21 Total Votes - 10 up - 11 down
    • SLOBIRD says:

      When you have a husband with a position in this community, anything is possible. Could it not have been something the bicyclist unfortunately did because we have all encountered some of these bicyclist on the back roads of this County? This women was not speeding, had not been drinking or on drugs, just driving her car like any other driver and painfully an accident occurred. Another set of rules for the haves and have nots?. I am sorry this tragic accident occurred but unless you can present a reason why this lady should be arrested for anything other than driving her car, think is wrong.

      (6) 18 Total Votes - 12 up - 6 down
      • jimmy_me says:

        I’ve been just driving my car for about 40 years now. I’ve somehow managed not to kill anyone in the process, including “those bicyclists” out there. Yep, driving while stupid is not a crime, but maybe it should be. I know I feel safer on the road having knowing this woman in jail.

        (1) 5 Total Votes - 3 up - 2 down
  4. whatdouno says:

    Still laughing: you do know it is very possible and quite common to pray with your eyes open and working with your hands right? There are many factors which could have brought about this accident. And as SLOjustice points out; it was an accident, tragic, certainly, but an accident. Could it be that the husbands influence has brought out this over zealous prosecution!

    (4) 20 Total Votes - 12 up - 8 down
  5. Russ J says:

    Isolated bike lanes now you transportation boobs! Plenty of tax money for salaries, pork projects and field worker health care but hardly a dribble of cash for building segregated bike lanes. I thought all you tax and spend lefties wanted to reduce carbon spewing motors!

    (-3) 25 Total Votes - 11 up - 14 down
  6. slojustice says:

    I realize accidents don’t seem to happen anymore in our society. But, maybe this was just a truly tragic accident.

    (9) 29 Total Votes - 19 up - 10 down
  7. still laughing says:

    A year doesn’t sound like much for the full life that she took.

    (-3) 45 Total Votes - 21 up - 24 down
  8. still laughing says:

    Isn’t this the same woman who said she was praying when she ran over her? Did she have her eyes closed and her hands off the wheel?

    (-1) 23 Total Votes - 11 up - 12 down

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