Learn more about this senseless death, and what new information about it is coming to light …
Police begin to investigate a fatal two-car crash, at the intersection of SE 122nd Avenue and SE Stark Street, in Hazelwood. Desmond Moore image
By David F. Ashton
The heavily-crossed intersection of SE 122nd Avenue and SE Stark Street was relatively quiet, for an early Sunday morning, on April 28 – at a bit after midnight. It was not to stay that way.
According to court documents, at about 12:40 a.m., a just-off-duty Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officer saw a car – a beige Buick Century – heading westbound on SE Stark Street, driving with its headlights turned off.
Witnesses say the occupants of the victim car “didn’t stand a chance” when it was T-Boned in the middle of the intersection. Desmond Moore image
Even though the traffic control signal was red, the driver of the Buick shot into the intersection at SE 122nd Avenue without slowing down – plowing into the passenger side of silver Mercury Sable already in the intersection.
“The [Mercury] had been traveling eastbound on SE Stark Street,” said PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson, “and was turning left [heading northbound] on SE 122nd Avenue, on a green light, when it was hit.”
This car was driving, headlights off, just before running a red light and smashing into the victim’s vehicle. Desmond Moore image
The high-speed broadside impact pushed the crash victim’s car diagonally across the intersection, across two traffic lanes, up over the curb, and into the bushes bordering the Burgerville Restaurant.
The crash ripped into the victim’s car, and an instant, later, 28-year-old Billie Dee Andrea Pugh was dead. The victim car’s driver, 28-year-old Brandon Paul Pugh, was taken to a Portland hospital where he was treated for, as Simpson reported, “traumatic, but not life-threatening injuries”.
Members of the PPB Traffic Division’s Major Crash Team starts taking measurements from their “TotalStation” as they investigate the crash. Desmond Moore image
The off-duty officer, court documents revealed, said that that 20-year-old LaShai Antionette Williams was behind the wheel of the lights-off Buick, tried to run away after the accident – and, appeared to be “visibly intoxicated”.
After a PPB Traffic Division officer led Williams through a field sobriety test, not only did she allegedly fail, she also was said to have told the officer she drank a half-pint of liquor before getting behind the wheel.
20-year-old LaShai Antionette Williams is accused of Manslaughter II – a Class B Felony – among other charges. MCDC booking photo
Williams was placed under arrest at 1:36 a.m. – and was officially checked into the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) at 6:24 a.m.
At her appearance in Multnomah County Circuit Court on the afternoon of April 29, Williams learned of all the charges against her, including two felonies: Manslaughter II and Failure to Perform the Duties of a Driver to an Injured Person – plus misdemeanor Driving while Under the Influence of Intoxicants, Reckless Driving, Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Criminal Mischief in the second degree, and interfering with a peace officer.
As of this writing, Williams remains in MCDC in lieu of $265,000 combined bail.
This photo, given to media by the family, shows Brandon Pugh, Billie Dee Andrea Pugh, and their children.
On the evening of Williams’ court appearance, the family and friends of Billie Dee Andrea Pugh held a candlelight vigil at the fatal intersection. Loved ones described her as a loving mother of three children, and an all-around great person who cared for everyone.
According to a published obituary, Billie Pugh had worked at the North Interstate Fred Meyer store for four years, and was attending Portland Community College – studying to become a nurse.
The question remains: Why was a 20-year-old young woman allegedly drunk, and out driving around in the middle of the night with her lights off? Desmond Moore image
© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News