Editor's note: Charles penned dozens of hard-hitting columns for the RoundUp, many exposing political malpractice and possible criminal malfeasance inside Hays County. Here's one from Nov. 20, 2009 that was particularly prescient, "Thoughts on politicians, Pirahna and the public interest" By Charles O'Dell, PhD – Driving past Austin Memorial Park Cemetery the other day brought to mind a reflection that every one of us is heading in that direction. Such a sobering thought brought into sharp focus the importance of making the most of life’s journey . . . Our neighbors’ problems are our problems – unless we choose not to care. We need skilled individuals who will address the public interest first to run for office. Otherwise, the Piranha among us will devour our community.
My friend and the RoundUp's chief investigative political writer and columnist, Charles O'Dell, died today from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident in San Marcos. At the moment, words cannot express the shock and sadness of Charles sudden passing. Our prayers go out to Charles' wife, Susan, and to his children and family. Charles will be missed by many friends and believers in freedom of information.
Charles co-founded HaysCAN, a community based government watchdog organization in 2003. Its mission statement and Charles personal commitment was to "provide clear and accurate information to help Hays County residents understand the actions taken by their elected officials." We believe Charles was in San Marcos to collect copies of documents from his latest public information requests from Hays County.
San Marcos PD dispatch said the department is investigating the accident that occurred on the 400 block of Hopkins St. No other details were made available.
Update, Thursday Feb. 2: From a report this morning from the San Marcos Mercury:
According to Sgt Brandon Winkenwerder, O’Dell was traveling east on Hopkins around 4:15 p.m, on a Kymco Grand Vista Motor Scooter behind another vehicle approaching the North Street intersection.
A westbound Dodge Durango driven by Joshua Matthew Eismann, 22, of New Braunfels, attempted to turn left on North Street and struck O’Dell’s motor scooter.
O’Dell was knocked off the cycle. He was taken by ambulance to CTMC where he was pronounced dead by Justice of the Peace JoAnn Prado shortly before 5 p.m.
Amber Land, a Texas State sophomore, told the University Star that she witnessed the collision and attempted to render aid to the victim, who she said was breathing but unresponsive immediately following the accident.
Eismann was cited for failure to yield the right of way. San Marcos Fire department, San Marcos-Hays County EMS and SMPD Collision Investigation Team responded to the scene.