Watkins’ son, Al Parker, wondered if his mother’s life might have been saved if the trooper had noticed her in the car.
“I’m thinking she could still have been alive,” Parker said Tuesday. “How do you not look in the car? When you pulled the car out, how do you not see a body in the car?”
Williams, a 9-year veteran of the Highway Patrol, has been placed on paid administrative duty pending the outcome of an internal review that will be conducted with help from the State Bureau Investigation. The patrol refused to release any further information about the incident.
“We will release accurate information to the public as soon as available and appropriate,” Public Safety Commissioner Frank Perry said in a brief written statement. “At this early stage, our main concern is to conduct a thorough and professional investigation so we can determine exactly what happened.”
A man who answered the phone at Dustin’s Towing and Recovery in Willow Springs said the highway patrol asked him not to talk about the incident.