Los Osos woman pleads not guilty to manslaughter

January 2, 2019

Emily Bales

A 24-year-old Los Osos woman pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to charges that could land her up to nine years in state prison over the death of a local pastor. [KSBY]

On Nov. 18, Pastor Dale Paulsen of the Morro Bay Presbyterian Church was walking in the 500 block of Ramona Avenue in Los Osos at about 5:30 p.m. when he was struck and killed by a pickup truck. Hours before his death, Paulsen announced to his congregation that he planned on retiring.

The driver of the pickup, 24-year-old Emily Bales, fled the scene, according to the CHP. At 6:20 p.m., an officer located Bales inside the pickup and arrested her.

Prosecutors charged Bales with manslaughter with an enhancement for fleeing the scene of the crash and DUI causing injury with an enhancement for inflicting great bodily harm.

On Wednesday, Bales appeared in San Luis Obispo Superior Court for the first time in the case and entered a plea of not guilty. During the hearing, it was revealed that Bales had a BAC of .13 at the time of the fatal crash.

Bales was allegedly reportedly drinking at a bar with friends prior to getting behind the wheel and driving home on the day of the collision. 

Defense attorney Ilan Funke-Bilu, who is representing Bales, said his client recognized her errors almost immediately after she got home. Funke-Bilu said Bales is not a wealthy woman, and she is not currently driving but is going to counseling.

A judge rejected a request by prosecutors to increase Bales’ bail. She remains out of custody, having already posted bail.

Bales is due back in court on Jan. 28.

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It is pathetic that she is allowed to plead not guilty, and even more pathetic that she is still working and her employer supports her? What a pathetic and disgusting business. While a family has buried their father and husband. Our system is broken and she disgusts me to by core! SHE alone made the decision to drink text and drive, KILL an innocent man and then leave him there to die. She deserves a lot more than she will get because our system is broken! Spoiled brat will not pay for her actions nearly as much as the family she destroyed will. Shame on you Emily Bales!

In California alone over 1,000 annual drunk driving deaths. Bad when a drunk kills themselves, way worse when a drunk kills someone else. My 17 year old brother was killed by a drunk eight years before there was a MADD. My parents never really got over their loss and neither have I.

“Said his client recognized her errors almost immediately after she got home” Drunken hit and run with a death? Facing UP TO 9 years? But if a male committed this crime?

Poor white girl by the coast.

Shoutout to all the people doing time without the chance of parole because of the color of their skin.

Reminds me of a lawyer friend of mine who during a lull in regular business, took on appeals for inmates. He was a “lock them up and throw away the key” type of guy before he handled these cases. Afterwards, he couldn’t believe the sentences many of these inmates received; he was utterly aghast of the sentencing guidelines that seemed to pervade the system. The experience completely changed his perception of the criminal justice system-he would very likely agree with the comment left by “corvidae”

I am sorry Emily’s life will be impacted. With that said, I’m a resident of LO and would like her to serve a full sentence. I was devastatingly impacted and crippled by a drunk driver at age 18. I am now dealing 31 years later with how I was physically crippled. I spent two months in Hospital at age 18. Drunk drivers never pay the true cost of raping life from an individual much less… killing someone and the extended harm to the family. She is irresponsible and ignorant. How hard in Los Osos would it have been to walk homefrom the bar or call a Lyft? Emily should serve her time.

When you reside in a place that celebrates the production and consumption of a behavior altering and impairing substance which is also a major contributor of its economic success, there will be no justice for the victims.

How may wineries are located in Los Osos? I am confused.

Freedom and personal responsibility are the opposite sides of the same coin. No need to look to look to blame this on society’s failure when this individual’s failure is proof enough.

Nine years for killing an innocent man and fleeing the scene,

Wow, decades of slapping people’s wrists and drunk driver’s still only get 9 year’s,

Should be like 20 and nine years.

How about 4 score and 9.