On February 1, close to 300 friends and family showed up at the Kraken on Coast Highway 101 for a remembrance and celebration of life of Oceanside resident Hugh Williams.
Williams was killed on the evening of Sunday, January 26, while riding his motorcycle above Lake Hodges on Del Dios Highway, near the intersection of Date Lane. He had just left his friends at the Kraken prior to the accident.
Prior to the gathering, to honor Williams, over 75 motorcyclists rode from the family’s Oceanside home to the crash site, and then to the Kraken. Williams’s family traveled with the group in a limousine with Williams's well-recognized custom-built motorcycle being towed behind.
A CHP report indicates Williams was traveling near the speed limit at around 7:00 p.m., eastbound, when a group of five pedestrians, coming off the trail of the Del Dios Highlands Preserve, was crossing the highway. According to other reports, the group stopped in the middle of the road; two pedestrians reportedly decided to run across the eastbound lane.
Williams swerved to avoid the group, hitting and killing one of the pedestrians. His bike then hit the curb and a highway sign. Reportedly, Williams, riding his new Honda Gullwing, was wearing full safety gear and was known for his safe riding practices.
CHP spokesperson Jim Bettencourt labeled the collision a “tragic accident.” In an NBC7 News report, Bettencourt said, “Unfortunately, at this time in the evening, a motorcyclist doesn’t expect a pedestrian to be standing in the road. There was nothing the motorcyclist could do.”
At the Kraken remembrance, several spoke of Williams, who grew up in Cardiff by the Sea, as a “gentle giant.” His daughter said he was a “big marshmallow inside.”
Kevin from Encinitas said Williams was nice and kind to everyone he met. “He was never a jerk like many of us are.”
Fellow rider Gary from Solana Beach said Williams's chrome-laden custom bike that he built from the frame up about 15 years ago “is the fanciest of fanciest. He hand-built and engineered everything.”
Disclosure: The writer was a classmate of Hugh Williams from kindergarten through high-school graduation. The two recently became reacquainted at their class reunion last October.