Fair Oaks man arrested for DUI, manslaughter in pedestrian death

Julie Newton loved Tinkerbell and stock cars, Disney and Daytona in equal measure. She doted on family and friends and always seemed ready for another adventure – a trip to Jamaica was closing in on the calendar.

Newton was walking with her father along Winding Way near Mont View Park in Fair Oaks about noon Wednesday when a car careened across an oncoming traffic lane, veered left and struck her. Newton died a short time later at Mercy San Juan Medical Center in Carmichael. She was 55.

“She was a beautiful person inside and out. She was a very giving person,” said husband Gordon Newton on Friday.

Family members said her father, 78, and struggling with Alzheimer’s disease, was unhurt.

The Fair Oaks motorist alleged to have struck Newton was booked Friday into Sacramento County jail. Gary Brian Wickey, 53, was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and felony driving under the influence. He is being held in lieu of $250,000 bail.

At their Elk Grove home, Gordon Newton remembered a woman who loved motor sports and travel, everything Disney and being together. The two met in 1995 while working at a Folsom bank branch. He worked up front, she in the back office.

“We met, became friends and fell in love,” he said.

Two years later, the couple married.

“We hoped that Julie had found her soul mate,” said longtime friend Kim Fletcher of Folsom, then a co-worker. “It was so wonderful to see her so happy. She was my closest friend and confidante.”

On Friday, images of Newton’s happiness were evident throughout her quiet home.

Her Disney room was filled with figurines of her favorite character Tinkerbell and stuffed Mickeys, Plutos, Eeyores and Poohs, and a photo taken in April of the Newtons at Disneyland.

Another room was dotted with photographs of her nephews and nieces, more snapshots with Gordon at NASCAR’s cathedrals – Daytona, Charlotte and Martinsville – and a pair of a laughing Newtons sailing through the air on a zip line.

“She liked to have fun,” Gordon Newton said. “She was full of life.”

In recent years, Newton worked at Trader Joe’s on Bruceville Road in Elk Grove and quickly became a popular presence at the store. For Newton, patrons “became more than just customers. They were friends.”

Fletcher and Newton were on the phone about an hour before the collision that took Newton’s life, looking forward to the Jamaica trip the two couples would take in January.

“We were going to swim with the dolphins,” Fletcher said.

Then, Newton headed out to see her father. Fletcher imagined Newton walked on the outside, her father inside and away from the road.

“It was so her to protect him from anything,” Fletcher said. “That’s how she was.”