Sunday, April 14, 2024

O.C. Board of Education trustee Ken Williams accused of road rage

An Orange County Board of Education trustee is accused of choking and stepping on a 20-year-old neighbor in the middle of the street during a road rage incident last year, according to a lawsuit.

Dr. Ken Williams Jr., who serves in District 3 and is up for reelection on the March 5 primary ballot, is accused of kicking the man’s car, throwing him on the ground and climbing on top of him before putting his hands around his neck.

The lawsuit alleges that the 65-year-old Williams left the driver, Caden O’Malley, struggling and “unable to walk” on a 55-mile-per-hour roadway in Mission Viejo.

“Caden, struggling, somehow crawled to the side of the road to call for emergency medical assistance,” the suit reads.

Call records obtained by The Times confirmed O’Malley called paramedics on March 11, 2023, at 1:32 p.m. The incident report notes a driver “physically assaulted” O’Malley, “stepped on his leg” and “took off.”

O’Malley and his attorney did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

In a brief interview with The Times, Williams confirmed the lawsuit Friday, but said he was unable to comment on specifics of the incident on the advice of his attorney. Williams declined to provide the name of his attorney.

Ken Williams is smiling and wearing a suit

Dr. Ken Williams serves on the Orange County Board of Education in District 3 and is up for reelection on the March 5 primary ballot.

(Los Angeles Times)

Williams, who was first elected to the O.C. Board of Education in 1996, has accused his political opponents of using the filing of the lawsuit against him.

“My political opponents are many,” he said. “My opponents are using this.”

Williams said people have gone after him during his reelection campaign for his stance on “protecting the innocence of children, charter schools and staying away from the woke curriculum such as critical race theory that would harm the parent child relationship.”

Williams said in a statement that he has faced personal attacks because of his political stance.

“My political opponent(s) in this campaign and election cycle have no message to voters on March 5th other than to attack my personal and professional career, and character,” the statement read. “The woke left attacks me because I oppose defunding the police, my pro-law enforcement and law-and-order public positions, and oppose weakening criminal laws.”

Asked if he believed the lawsuit was politically motivated, Williams said he “wasn’t saying that,” but that his opponents were using the information against him and reaching out to political supporters to remove their endorsements.

Williams’ endorsements include the Orange County Republican Party, Sheriff Don Barnes and the Orange County Register among others.

According to his online O.C. Board of Education profile, Williams is also a sheriff’s reserve with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

“Ken’s passion for public safety and protection of children and families from violence is his primary public policy effort as an elected trustee,” his profile said. “He strongly supports safe schools and anti-bullying education programs.”

The lawsuit alleges that the violent encounter began on Crystal Canyon Road, where O’Malley, driving in a Cadillac Escalade, saw Williams’ Volkswagen Golf TDI stopped and blocking the road.

It’s unclear whether the two knew each other before the encounter, but property records indicate the drivers were neighbors, living just a couple of streets away from each other.

The two drivers turned into El Toro Road, where Williams allegedly “slammed on his brakes.” O’Malley stopped and tried to pass Williams on the left side when Williams began to speed up and block O’Malley from passing, according to the suit.

“[Williams] continued to pull his large Escalade in front of Caden and slam on his brakes,” the suit read.

The two of them pulled over, and the suit alleges Williams walked over to O’Malley, kicking his Golf and screaming insults while O’Malley remained in the car.

O’Malley exited his car to take a picture of Williams’ license plate when the trustee “came rushing at Caden, smacking his cellphone out of his hand,” according to the suit.

Williams allegedly threw O’Malley to the ground, climbed on top of him and choked him. Williams allegedly left the scene and O’Malley on the roadway.

According to the incident report from the Orange County Fire Authority, O’Malley was taken to a nearby hospital to be treated.

The lawsuit alleges O’Malley suffered “significant and mental injuries” from the incident and is asking for damages in excess of $25,000.

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