Mayor who crashed her car into a tree after drinking ‘several glasses of wine’ held a zoom meeting with families of drunk driving victims just an hour beforehand – as furious MP demands she resign
- Queensland mayor Karen Williams drove after drinking several glasses of wine
- MPs and road safety advocates have called for her immediate resignation
- Smashed her car into a tree just hours after handing down council budget
- She has issued an apology and said she made ‘serious error’ in judgement
- CR Williams spoke to families of drink driving victims just one hour before crash
A mayor who drank ‘several’ glasses of wine before smashing her car into a tree had spoken to the families of victims killed by drunk drivers just one hour before the crash.
Redlands City Council Mayor Karen Williams struck the tree after veering off a road in Cleveland, east of Brisbane at about 9pm on Thursday.
Less than an hour before, Cr Williams held a Zoom meeting with the families of Matt Field and Hayley Russell – both who were killed at the hands of drunk drivers in separate incidents in Queensland.
The mayor has apologised for her ‘error in judgement’, but Ms Russell’s mother and road safety advocate Judy Lindsay now says she wants nothing to do with her.
Karen Williams, Mayor of Redlands city council in Brisbane’s south east, said she had a lapse in judgement when she crashed her car on Thursday night after drinking ‘several glasses of wine’
Judy Lindsay (pictured left) has been campaigning for road safety since her own daughter was killed by a drunken driver on Redland Road in 2009
‘She rang me on Friday night, a day after the crash, crying and saying she was so sorry for what she had done but I told her there was no excuse for her actions,’ Ms Lindsay told The Courier Mail.
‘I was so disgusted, I told her I could not ever be connected with her again and called for her to resign as mayor.’
Cr Williams had approached Ms Lindsay to help raise awareness for safer roads, and congratulated her on her own petition and road safety program.
Ms Lindsay said the mayor had told her she wanted to ‘clean up Redlands’ with harsher penalties for drink drivers.
‘She said to me during the zoom meeting she was so sorry about my daughter’s death and then within an hour she had crashed her car and admitted drinking,’ she added.
Ms Lindsay’s daughter, Hayley, died at the age of 20 after she was hit by a drunken driver in 2009.
Fighting back tears as she fronted media, Cr Williams said she would continue to try work with the families and others in the community to make roads safer.
She was pressed on whether the meeting with the families of those drink driving victims had ‘meant nothing to her’ on Saturday.
Mayor Williams has apologised for her actions and said there are ‘no excuses’
‘I am absolutely committed to making our community safer. I appreciate that those people have gone through difficult times and I will remain committed to working with anyone that wants to make this community safer,’ the mayor said in response.
Cr Williams however said she’d continue in her role as mayor.
‘I will continue to serve my community in the way that I have for the last 18 years to make this a better place,’ she said.
‘There are no excuses for my actions.
State Labor MP Don Brown (pictured) called on Cr Williams to resign after news broke she’d driven into a tree
‘I am deeply sorry and I will deal with the consequences of that as I move forward and I will continue to assist the police with their inquiries.
‘I made a promise to those families that I would continue to work with them to make sure the Youth Justice Act reflects what’s required and expected by our community.’
State Labor MP Don Brown for the overlapping seat of Capalaba called for the mayor to resign, adding to comments from Police Minister Mark Ryan for Cr Williams to face consequences.
‘Karen Williams must resign today. You can’t be hard on youth drunk drivers and then be soft on yourself,’ Mr Brown said on social media.
Responding to early reports Mr Brown had said: ‘If (the reports are) true, she must go. Especially after campaigning against a drunk driver killing Matt, Kate and Miles’.
Mr Ryan said the police investigation was continuing but people needed to ‘walk the walk and talk the talk’.
‘So for people who you know espouse to be advocates for road safety they also have to be road safety responsible people themselves,’ he said.
On Friday, the mayor admitted she had drunk ‘several’ glasses of wine before she smashed her car into a tree just hours after releasing her council’s budget.
In a sorrowful statement, the mayor said: ‘Last night I made a serious error in judgement and drove after drinking several glasses of wine.
‘I am deeply sorry for my actions and am incredibly thankful no one else was involved or injured.
‘I will be seeking counselling and will continue to assist police in their inquiries.’
Charges have not been laid as investigations continue.
Cr Williams had been in the media earlier in June after launching a petition for safer roads following a ‘lenient’ sentence for a drink-driving teen who killed a couple and their unborn son.
Cr Williams had been in the media earlier in June after launching a petition for safer roads following a ‘lenient’ sentence for a drink-driving teen who killed Kate Leadbetter, Matt Field and their unborn son.
The 18-year-old was convicted of manslaughter this year 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 affected by drugs and alcohol when he got behind the wheel and crashed into the couple who were walking their dogs in Alexandra Hills.
The teenager who can’t be named because he was convicted as a juvenile was handed a 10-year prison sentence on a dozen charges.
The judge, however, has ordered for his release after serving six years considering his ‘genuine remorse’, early guilty plea, and steps toward rehabilitation.
Cr Williams was the principal petitioner calling for his sentence to be appealed.
The petition labelled a six-year sentence ‘manifestly inadequate’ for the teen and calls for the Queensland Legislative Assembly to ‘request the Attorney General lodge an appeal against this sentence’ and ‘enact legislative changes to curb juvenile crime, including reinstating breach of bail as an offense.’
The petition was posted on June 10 and has 54,000 signatures.
Police were called to an intersection in Cleveland where they found the road-safety warrior and breath-tested her
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