SWEET HOME, Ore. — After an eight-month investigation, the Linn County District Attorney decided not to file charges against the man who caused a deadly crash.
The district attorney’s decision to drop all charges against Steven Dyal for the fatal crash he allegedly caused on Highway 228 came as a surprise to both him and the victim’s family, a decision they’re both still trying to wrap their heads around.
If he hadn’t reached for that cup of coffee, Steve Dyal says maybe Bonnie Badgely would still be alive.
“The coffee mug was sitting right there,” Dyal said. “And when I came around the corner it slid off, I reached over to grab it, looked up and…”
He says it’s still hard to tell the story and see the truck it all happened in. He just got his pick-up back from the county a couple days ago after the district attorney decided to close his case.
“We got the call from the DA, everything’s been dropped, you can come get your truck,” Dyal said.
Dyal says after eight months of pending investigation, it was not what he was expecting to hear.
“A very big surprise, I personally thought in my own heart, that even though it was an accident, I thought for sure I was looking at man slaughter charges, vehicular man slaughter charges,” Dyal said.
The Linn County District Attorney’s only given reason for the decision was that it didn’t have enough evidence to file criminal charges against Dyal.
When KEZI 9 News reached out to the victim’s family, they didn’t want to comment on the DA’s decision but did seem displeased. Dyal, however, was relieved by the news but says it didn’t relieve his guilt.
“It just takes a second, and it’s over with. I know it was an accident, but I don’t know if that makes it any easier or not, because life is so precious,” Dyal said.
Dyal says if there’s anything people get out of this tragic story, it’s the simple message of “keep your eyes on the road.”