Woman charged with vehicular manslaughter for deadly Highway 227 - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Woman charged with vehicular manslaughter for deadly Highway 227 crash

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Bridget Dawson (Photo courtesy Scott Dawson) Bridget Dawson (Photo courtesy Scott Dawson)

The woman who investigators say struck and killed a bicyclist on Highway 227 in Edna Valley back in July has been charged with a misdemeanor.

The California Highway Patrol said 53-year-old Lisa Smith of Oceano hit 58-year-old Bridget Dawson of San Luis Obispo as she was riding on the shoulder.

Smith is charged with one count of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter and is scheduled to be arraigned on October 18.

Dawson was married to the Dean of Cal Poly's College of Business.

She and her husband, Scott, moved to San Luis Obispo two years ago because of the position at Cal Poly and because the Central Coast provided a great area for world-champion triathlete Bridget to train.

Bridget Dawson was an international class triathlete, who trained year-round. In 2012, she was crowned world champion in her age group in New Zealand. Three years later, she won her age group for Olympic distance in the U.S. and she won her age group for U.S. Duathlon Championships from 2013 to 2016.

"Bridget was a fierce competitor, but she always did it with a lot of grace," said Scott Dawson. 

"Live with grace, crush the race,” those are the words Scott carries on his wrist to remind him of Bridget.

The Dawsons were married for 32 years and running brought them together.

"I was never her class of runner by any means, but I was a pretty serious runner, and a faculty member when I was in graduate school introduced us and that was the common bond," explained Scott. 

Bridget was born and raised in Iowa. Once married, she and her husband moved to Portland, where they had two children, Whitney and Conor.

After Bridget passed away, a scholarship fund was set up in her honor to support young triathletes.

Now that the person responsible has been charged, Scott said he hopes that what happened to his wife will serve as a lesson to many.

"I'd rather have my wife back than spending a lot of energy thinking about charges. It doesn't make it better, but maybe it sends a signal to other people that distracted driving is not okay," said Scott.

Scott also told KSBY that in these tough times, the best thing for him is to be close to his loved ones, so he will be moving back to Portland in November.

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