FALLS CITY, Ore. (KOIN) — July 3 “was just going to be a normal regular day,” said Star Nelson. But that day a 3-car crash in McMinnville claimed the lives of her 3-year-old brother, Bryan, and his stepdad, Jeremy King.
Just recently, King and Bryan’s mom, Billie, were married. Star Nelson said Billie was headed to work that day, driving a Pontiac with Jeremy in the passenger seat and two children in the back. Billie slowed or stopped to turn left on Hwy 99W and was hit from behind by a pickup truck. An oncoming SUV hit their Pontiac as the pickup truck lost its trailer, went off the road and into a nearby home.
King, 29, died at the scene.
“Whenever you were ever in need and you just needed somebody to talk to or a big hug, he was the one you went to,” she told KOIN 6 News. King was a Marine, the father to a 10-year-old son.
“Jeremy,” she said, “was a rock star.”
Bryan was airlifted but died the next day at a Portland hospital.
Bryan loved water, monster trucks, his puppy and dinosaurs, she said.
“There wasn’t a person who could walk by him and not smile. He was the light in everybody’s life,” Nelson said. “He loved to give hugs. He was always smiling.”
“It doesn’t seem real until you wake up and think about it, think about family plans that we had,” Nelson said Tuesday. “In a heart beat, nothing’s the same. There’s not a single thing in my life that’s the same, in my family’s life and anybody’s.”
She said life has been very difficult in the past week.
“It’s hard to get up. It’s hard to eat. It’s hard to think about what I have to do. Laundry. Everything is difficult. Life’s not the same. Bryan was part of all of it.”
Star Nelson said she wants drivers to remember their responsibility when they’re behind the wheel.
“Just pay attention, you need to pay attention,” she said. “It’s not only your life and your vehicle that you are responsible for when you’re out there, it’s everybody. Everybody needs to pay attention because it just takes looking away for one second and there’s an accident. It happens quick.”
She also wants people to do something in Bryan’s memory.
“Hug your kids every day. No parent wants to think about losing their child, but it only takes a second and they could be gone.”
Fundraising efforts are underway to help Bryan and Jeremy’s loved ones left behind.