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Wife of South Haven man killed in truck crash speaks out
SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - The wife of a man killed in a tragic accident is speaking up for the very first time.
50-year-old Steve Efting died in South Haven in January, after the Little Debbie delivery truck he was driving got hit by a van that ran a stop sign.
Now his family hopes, by telling their story, they can prevent a similar tragedy.
Penny Efting tells Newschannel 3 she was supposed to be in the truck that morning with her husband, giving him some company on his route. Instead, she decided to run an errand with her daughter.
In the month since the accident, she says she’s replayed that day in her head over and over.
“It was just very hard because I didn't get the opportunity to see him that morning,” Penny Efting said through tears. “I turned the TV on and heard there was a bad accident. I started shaking and then when I called my mother I told her it wasn’t true. It just couldn’t be.”
But as soon as Penny Efting saw the footage of that familiar Little Debbie truck tipped over on the side of the road, she knew.
“My heart just dropped. I couldn’t function,” Efting recalls. “If I was with him, maybe I could’ve seen something he didn’t. Maybe I could’ve done something to prevent that from happening.”
Now a month's worth of tears have replaced a lifetime of laughter.
“He would love just to see people smile and laugh,” Efting remembers. “A lot of people had respect for him because he showed respect for them.”
Steve’s brother, Greg Efting, adds, “Oh yeah he'll never be replaced by anybody. Whenever I was having a bad day, I’d call him. He’d say, ‘You'll be okay, you'll be fine, don't worry about it.’ And I don't have that now.”
Greg and Penny say their one consolation, the silver lining in an otherwise dark time, is that maybe Steve's story will save someone else.
“Please make sure you are watching for the intersections, watching for the signs,” Penny pleads. “If we don’t watch out for them we may be in this predicament of losing someone that we love very much.”
Greg adds, “That's my message, stop at stop signs. Be aware of where you’re driving or don’t drive. Because one minute your family could be there and the next they could be dead.”
As for Penny, she says she’s taking it one moment at a time, surrounded by sweet memories of her husband of 30 years, father of two and beloved delivery man known throughout West Michigan and beyond.
“God has a purpose for everything,” she says. “We pray every day, hoping nothing else like that would happen to anybody else. And to give us the strength to go it day by day.”
South Haven Police tell us they are still waiting for Steve Efting’s autopsy results. And the prosecutor is requesting more information to review the case before issuing any charges.