Crime

Los Osos woman charged with vehicular manslaughter in death of Morro Bay pastor

Remembering Pastor Dale Paulsen

Morro Bay Presbyterian Church Pastor Dale Paulsen announced Sunday that he was retiring after more than 20 years at the church. A hit and run driver ended his life Sunday evening, when he was struck while walking in Los Osos.
Up Next
Morro Bay Presbyterian Church Pastor Dale Paulsen announced Sunday that he was retiring after more than 20 years at the church. A hit and run driver ended his life Sunday evening, when he was struck while walking in Los Osos.

The Los Osos woman who allegedly struck and killed a pastor from Morro Bay while driving under the influence in November is facing up to nine years in state prison after prosecutors filed felony charges on Thursday.

Emily Marie Bales is due in court Wednesday to be arraigned on charges of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence, DUI causing great bodily injury, and leaving the scene of an accident.

Bales, 24, is alleged to have caused the death of Dale Paulsen, who served as pastor of Morro Bay Presbyterian Church for 23 years.

The 67-year-old Los Osos resident had just announced his retirement from the church that morning, Erica King, a church elder, told The Tribune. His last Sunday leading services was to have been Jan. 6, 2019.

“He was so full of life and love and laughter and that’s a great loss. That’s a great loss,” King said.

Paulsen was walking east on the western shoulder of Ramona Avenue, east of Pine Avenue, according to the CHP, at about 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 18.

Bales was driving a 2015 Toyota Tacoma west on Ramona Avenue when her pickup truck hit Paulsen, and Paulsen was pronounced dead at the scene. Bales initially fled, but was later found and arrested.

She was released from custody Nov. 19 after posting $100,000 bail.

Related stories from San Luis Obispo Tribune

Matt Fountain is The San Luis Obispo Tribune’s courts and investigations reporter. A San Diego native, Fountain graduated from Cal Poly’s journalism department in 2009 and cut his teeth at the San Luis Obispo New Times before joining The Tribune as a crime and breaking news reporter in 2014.


  Comments