Mental health leader dies after car crash

Austen Thibault, The Union Democrat

A Columbia man known locally for his work on behalf of the mentally ill died Friday of injuries suffered last month in an auto accident caused by an alleged drunk driver.

Robert "Bob" Roberson was being treated for injuries suffered in the July 23 wreck at Memorial Medical Center in Modesto. He was 66.

He suffered major injuries when struck head-on in the auto accident on Jamestown Road, near Golf Links Road.

Annadine Matheny, 41, of Jamestown, was driving south when she crossed the double yellow lines as she tried to make a right hand curve and collided head-on with Roberson's Buick, according to California Highway Patrol.

The investigating officer smelled alcohol on Matheny and forwarded a recommendation to the District Attorney's Office to charge her for felony DUI and reckless driving, according to CHP Officer Ken Bruce.

Bruce said the recommendation will be updated to include vehicular manslaughter.

Law enforcement is still awaiting toxicology results for confirmation, he said.

Roberson was president of the Tuolumne County chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness in 2010 and 2011. He also served as chairman of the Sierra Apple Festival, an annual NAMI fundraiser held each September at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds, according to current president Mary Leamy.

Leamy described Roberson as an "unbelievably good man" who would respond in the middle of the night to help the mentally ill.

Matheny was released July 29 from Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, where she had been taken for major injuries.

Charges against her have not yet been filed, pending toxicology results, Bruce said.

The Union Democrat
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