BROWNSVILLE, Ore. – After months of investigation, the Linn County District Attorney says he will not file criminal charges against the driver involved in a deadly crash last August near Brownsville.
On August 15, 2012, Stephen Dyle of Springfield was driving westbound on Highway 228 when he crossed the center line near milepost 9 and hit an eastbound car head-on. The driver of that oncoming car - Bonnie Lee Badgley, 62 of Sweet Home, died on impact.
According to her obituary, Badgley was married with two grown children. She and her husband owned a grocery store in Sweet Home and had lived there since 1988.
Dyle says he was driving to a doctor’s appointment in Eugene that morning. He told KVAL News his coffee mug was sitting on the center console and it began sliding off, so he reached to grab it.
“When I looked back up, it was too late. I hit her head on,” Dyle said.
Dyle says he’s been living with the pain of knowing he took a life – one that he later found out he was connected to.
“Come to find out, I knew her. Because I used to go by in my log truck and get my breakfast burritos at her store,” he said.
“I’m sorry ... I know sorry is not an easy word. But I am very, very sorry that I took her life. It was my responsibility. It was my fault,” said Dyle.
After reviewing evidence of the case, the DA’s office determined that there was not enough to prove criminal action beyond a reasonable doubt. Dyle was not cited, nor did he face charges.
Dyle says if he could take back that day, he would.
“I would have done things different. I probably wouldn’t have reached for a cup of coffee, but that’s our human nature to do what I did,” he said. “It just takes that quick. I know I destroyed my life and I know I destroyed a lot of her family too.”
“The only thing I can tell people is be careful, keep your eye on the road. People with children, you know, when they’re turning around, trying to correct them. You turn around for that split second to correct them, wait till it’s a safe place,” said Dyle.
Dyle says he wants forgiveness from Badgley’s family, but understands its difficult.
“I just hope they can find it in their heart to forgive me for this,” he said.