EUGENE, Ore. — The Springfield man who caused a deadly crash in Brownsville this week has told KEZI 9 News what happened.
Stephen Dyal is recovering in a local hospital. He was behind the wheel when his truck crossed the center line, hitting 62-year-old Bonnie Badgley’s SUV.
“You know I carry a pretty big burden right now, and I hope down the road that they can find it in their heart to forgive,” Dyal said.
Dyal is recovering from the crash at Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend. He wanted to speak with us in person, but PeaceHealth denied our interview request, citing a staffing issue.
Dyal was driving a Dodge pickup on Highway 228 when troopers say he crossed the centerline and struck Badgley’s SUV. Dyal says he was reaching for coffee when the accident happened.
“I went down to reach and grab it and pull it back on the console there in the center of the truck, and when I looked up I had already crossed the line and she was right there,” Dyal said.
Badgley died at the scene.
“It was an accident,” Dyal said.
She owned the Midway Grocery Store and was a longtime member of the Sweet Home community.
“Bonnie had a real passion for taking care of others whether she was rescuing a hurt animal, which she did several times. She loved tending to her flowers making breakfast for the local logging crew–her grocery deli in Sweet Home,” said Bonnie’s husband Stan.
“I am very sorry for their loss. I would trade her place in a minute. I wish it wasn’t her I wish. I wish it didn’t have to be the way it turned out,” Dyal said.
OSP says the crash is under investigation. Troopers are trying to decide whether it was in fact caused by distracted driving or something else.
“(One,) I wasn’t driving erratically. Two, I wasn’t passing nobody,” Dyal said.
Dyal says he hopes one day he can say those words in person Badgely’s family.
“They need time to heal. They need to go through the anger and the hurt, and when they are ever ready to talk with me, I would be glad to talk with them,” Dyal said.
The family isn’t commenting on Dyal’s statements at this time, just remembering the loved one they lost.
“She just loved people. She was a real people person and a great go-getter. You just couldn’t slow her down, and she loved to take care of people,'” Stan Badgley said.
OSP says it could take weeks to determine the exact cause.
Dyal went into surgery Friday afternoon to treat injuries he suffered in the crash.
Badgley will be laid to rest next Friday.