Troublesome Background in Street Tragedy

By: 
Beachcomber Staff

Know that both people central to this story were Long Beach residents and both were about the same age range. That’s where the similarities end.

The product of a mixed race relationship, Bridget Ingham was born on March 3, 1968 in Chicago. Bridget and mom moved to Long Beach in 1977. She attended Paramount High School, graduated from CSULB as a bachelor of fine arts with an emphasis on dance while working as a server and bartender at O’Malley’s on Main Irish pub in Seal Beach. After graduation she began teaching yoga, at first at Yoga World on Bellflower Boulevard before that business shuttered. Since then, Bridget taught at the homes of her clients.

“Bridget was a sweet person,” said her mother, Pat Bauerkemper of Mission Viejo. “She was not aggressive, she didn’t like to change or leave a job she liked.” Despite that trait, she was planning to take a clerical/sales job at AAA as of February.

All of that ended for Bridget at Eighth Street and Euclid Avenue at 7:50 p.m. on January 27, 2018 when Ingham’s 2007 Honda Fit was broadsided by a suspected DUI driver’s Toyota Tacoma, killing her.

Bridget and her friend planned to go to the movies that night. After working all day, Bridget texted she was on her way. The friend heard sirens nearby and thought Bridget was stuck behind traffic at the nearby accident, then found out Bridget was t-boned by a truck and was told she was in critical condition.

Notified by Bridget’s friends at the hospital, Bauerkemper called St. Mary’s Hospital and was told to come up right away. Doctors told her Bridget had passed away, likely already pronounced at the scene. Bauerkemper was allowed to see her. “Her face was perfect. She was found on the passenger side, her seat belts were on and the air bags deployed.” The truck came at about 70 mph. The Tacoma’s driver, Richard Roberts “did not have a seat belt on and was holding a half can of beer,” said Bauerkemper. She said the truck had a video cam on the dashboard. Bauerkemper said she was told he was doing burn outs up the street just before the accident. Roberts was treated in the emergency room near Bridget.

Roberts lived near the Traffic Circle, very close to the residence of a yoga student of Bridget, named for this article as Kelly. Describing Roberts as a “bully” who liked to speed his truck around the neighborhood, squealing his tires. Kelly first became aware of him about a week before the crash. While Kelly was walking, “He pulled up on a street nearby, burned rubber, headlights hit my spouse, squealed brakes and pulled into the driveway. Neighbors asked who the hell is driving the truck?”

Another neighbor who has lived in the area for 30 years recalled when he first moved in, he heard Roberts yelling “I’m going to stab you,” which he reported to the police.

More recently, the neighbor said Roberts drove around the neighborhood in his Mustang at 60 mph, revved his engine in the driveway and often burned rubber. Roberts told the neighbor he wasn’t insured and didn’t have a driver’s license. The neighbor believed the car wasn’t currently registered.

The neighbor called police two days before the accident and told them about this behavior and his unlicensed status, that he was likely to kill someone. According to the neighbor, police staked out his house, hoping to catch him driving, but the accident happened before they could act.

“The night after he got arrested, I found out he lived doors from me,” said Kelly. “His girlfriend was hauling stuff and a pit bull puppy out of the house.” Kelly told her, “Do you know the guy that lives here? He killed my friend.”

“I’m so sorry,” the girlfriend said to Kelly.

Two days later, Kelly was again walking nearby. “His girlfriend pointed to me and he came out on his lawn at the sidewalk cursing at Kelly. The police told Kelly there was nothing they could do as long as he’s on his own lawn.

From that, it was a matter of fearing him.

At first, Roberts claimed that he had a heart attack and that Bridget ran a stop sign. He was arrested, then bailed out of jail with an April 19 court date. Kelly stated Roberts called his girlfriend to “Get my guns out. He didn’t want the parole officer finding guns.”

Just prior to his April court date, Kelly saw signs of Roberts moving out. The neighbor said after he moved out, garbage had to be cleared away and that the house was gutted. “Many people came and left the house,” but after he moved, “No one is currently living in there.” According to other sources, the house was quickly marketed by family to circumvent Roberts’ return.

Roberts travelled to his sister’s house in Sonoma County, where in mid-May, he was arrested for stabbing her. According to Mymotherlode.com, Roberts allegedly stabbed the victim in the arm, causing a laceration and eye injuries and threatened further harm.

Arrested and booked into the Tuolumne County Jail on outstanding warrants for charges of stealing from an elder/dependent and also for being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm, Roberts faced charges of assault with a deadly weapon, battery with serious bodily injury, making criminal threats, and violation of a domestic violence prevention order.

On June 26, while represented by a public defender, Roberts pled guilty and was sentenced to one year of county jail, having already served 43 days. As with other jurisdictions in the state, there is overcrowding with many inmates serving reduced sentences. In addition, he was sentenced to five years of felony probation and a five year restraining order. Kelly is concerned that Roberts might well be released on November 12 after serving half his sentence.

There is a post-release hold on him from Long Beach. According to Tuolomme County Prosecutor Ginger Martin, a prisoner can serve less than a full term based on good behavior and participation in classes. Kelly hopes that the local court will take his past record and nature of  the death of Bridget into consideration.

Bauerkemper plans on attending any legal proceedings involving Roberts. “I would hope they put him away so long that he is very old when he gets out.”

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