Family: Lake accident victim not a thief
Friends and relatives of Charles “Chip” Williams don’t know much about the accident that claimed his life – but they do know he wasn’t a thief.
His mother, Candice Williams, said she believes reports by law enforcement and the media implied her son played a part in stealing a Sea-Doo from Lakeside Marina.
“We don’t have any answer, they don’t have any answers,” she said of investigators. “Just be patient and let the facts come out. He’s not going to do something that’s going to put him in jail. I know for a fact he would not go out and steal a watercraft.”
Williams, 24, was born at Barton Memorial Hospital and attended South Tahoe High School. He returned in May after working a deep-sea fishing job in the Fiji Islands and was working as a bartender and waiter at The Brewery at Lake Tahoe.
Tom Whitton, general manager of The Brewery, last saw Williams around 1 a.m. Wednesday at Riva Grill On The Lake, a bar and restaurant at Ski Run Marina. He said he wasn’t worried when Williams left on one of two Sea-Doos he saw outside the bar because Williams grew up at the lake and knew it well.
Whitton said he thought Williams might have been catching a ride to his sailboat, which he kept moored about 150 yards offshore from Ski Run Marina. Whitton said Williams often slept on the boat.
“Chip was along for the ride, he wouldn’t steal anything,” said Whitton. “He was one of my best employees, a very solid individual.”
The Sea-Doo that Westbrook and Williams were riding when they slammed into a dock at the 4-H Campground was reported stolen, but South Lake Tahoe police said Monday they do not consider Williams a suspect.
Co-workers at the Brewery said they miss Williams and are still in shock because of his death.
“Chip always had a smile on his face – and he made others smile,” said Jennifer Guveda, a Brewery employee. “We will never forget our friend who was so passionate about life. His untimely death has reminded us to live each day to the fullest, as Chip did. He will be greatly missed.”
Employees from the Brewery gathered on the lakeshore Monday night to remember Williams. A memorial service is also planned at 11 a.m. Thursday at Lake Tahoe Christian Fellowship.