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Galt High student Adam Williams recalled by school staff, friends as 'nice kid'

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Posted: Tuesday, April 22, 2003 10:00 pm

At a break in classes at Galt High School on Tuesday morning, some students milled around the sunlit open area while others hurried on to their next class.

But amid the bustle, one table full of students stood apart as those seated conveyed an unusual quiet - a mixed sense of sadness and hurt.

More than a dozen young people sat crowded around the steel table, some with faces clouded and twisted with grief.

Others bravely made plans to help a young man's family. Some sat quietly, coping with a tragedy in the company of their friends.

Adam Williams

In the quad area of Galt High School, Adam Williams' friends took comfort in their small group. They gathered because less than 24 hours earlier, the 17-year-old junior had been killed in an automobile accident.

Kathy Margaret DeLaurentis, the woman who apparently caused the accident, sat in the San Joaquin County Jail at French Camp on Tuesday, arrested on suspicion of felony drunken driving and gross vehicular manslaughter.

But while news of Williams' death spread quickly among his friends, they were still unaware of the full circumstances surrounding the accident that took his life.

If they had known, the anger and resentment that some were barely suppressing may have flared to the surface. But the news had not yet come to the school, and Williams' friends wanted to talk about the young man they knew.

Eddie Mason's sister, Jennifer, was Williams' girlfriend. The two had been seeing each other for about nine months, Williams' friends said.

Monday afternoon, Williams had been on his way to visit Jennifer and look at tuxedos for the upcoming prom.

Mason was the first person at the crash scene, which happened just yards from their house near Lower Sacramento Road and Woodson Road.

At school the next day, Mason spoke of his friend.

"Adam cheered people up," Mason said. "He could take any bad situation and turn it good."

He had known Williams since the seventh grade.

"He's the same goofball he was then," said Mason, who plans to build a memorial for Williams on Lower Sacramento Road where the accident occurred.

The two friends shared a common sense of fun and goofiness, even making a home-video called "Dumbass," a takeoff on MTV's "Jackass" show.

In their skit, called "Bowling for Garbage Cans," Williams rode a mechanic's creeper down a hill into a bunch of trash cans.

But Williams' real love was wakeboarding, riding a board towed behind a speedboat.

"He would wakeboard anywhere, in The Delta, at Lake Camanche, even in his pool," said another friend, Naomi Miller.

Williams' other friends chimed in, calling him a "board hog," that he liked to be on the wakeboard so much that he was reluctant to let it go.

"The only thing that could come between Adam and Jennifer was his wakeboard," Miller said.

So avid a wakeboarder was Williams that three weeks ago, he was in his wet suit in The Delta helping Mason make a home video.

While his friends agreed that the two biggest things in Williams' life were his girlfriend and wakeboarding, there was another female in his life, who Miller called Williams' "other girlfriend."

That was Michelle, his pet dwarf boa constrictor.

Williams had enrolled in the school's Health Academy last semester, but his friends did not think that it was because he wanted to be a doctor.

"He wanted to be a cop or a professional wakeboarder," Miller said.

Adam's father, Steve Williams, is a veteran canine officer with the Stockton police department.

Young Williams was very attached to Zeus, his father's police dog who lived with the family, as well as the family's other dog, Kelia.

Adam's mother lives in Tennessee with a younger brother and sister, and his older brother, Chris, graduated from Galt High last year, his friends said.

His father recently remarried, and his friends said Adam was very happy with his new family, especially with his new 8-year-old sister, Nikki.

"They got along great," Miller said. "She loved Adam."

Another of Williams' friends, Christina Sagert, said Williams' grandfather had only recently given him the Volkswagen "Baja bug" that he was driving when the accident happened.

"On Friday night, he showed it off to everyone," she said. "He was so proud of it."

She said Williams had driven around to his friend's houses, honking his horn.

"That horn was really annoying," she said.

Williams enjoyed working on the car, and had plans to add a fifth gear to the transmission. He was also working on the car's starter.

"Once it got started, it was fine," Miller said.

Laurie Bambas, a Galt High School outreach counselor, said she had 12 students in her small office early Tuesday morning.

"There were tears, and there was some laughter" as the students remembered their friend and dealt with the news of his death, she said.

"He was a real nice kid," Bambas said.

Because the school yearbook had already gone to press, Williams' friends are preparing a memorial page that they will insert into the yearbook's pages.

Bambas said some of Williams' friends had been in contact with his parents, and had offered to help the family keep their house and yard in order. They want to help in any way possible to aid the friends and family gathering at the house.

The kids are also picking up some groceries for the family.

"They need to feel that they can help in some way," Bambas said.

"It gives them a plan," Bambas said. "We know the week will get rougher as it goes along."

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