Survivor wanted deadly crash suspect kept in jail

Survivor wanted deadly crash suspect kept in jail

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by Erica Heartquist, KGW Staff

kgw.com

Posted on February 11, 2013 at 4:46 PM

Updated Monday, Feb 11 at 4:55 PM

PORTLAND -- The survivor of last month's deadly DUII crash in Portland's Old Town area had urged for the suspect to be kept behind bars until his trial.

But a judge lowered the suspect's bail Monday and he was able to post bond.

More: Suspect in deadly Old Town crash released from jail

From her bed at a Gresham rehab center Sunday, Brandi Butner, 21, told KGW in an exclusive interview that her life changed that night when her best friend was killed.

"And that's the last thing I remember is her hugging me and telling me she loved me," said Butner. "I don't remember anything after that, but I was holding her hand."

Butner and her best friend Becky Bray were in Old Town celebrating Butner's 21st birthday in the early hours of January 20. They were on the sidewalk when a pickup truck ran a red light, hit a cab and then hit them.

"I just remember seeing him hit the taxi cab and him coming toward us, but it happened, you know, within seconds. There was no way I could push her or me out of the way," she said.

Bray, 20, was pronounced dead at the scene. Butner suffered severe pelvic injuries.

Police said Brent Warstler, 42, was behind the wheel of the pickup. He's facing multiple charges including manslaughter and DUII.

"He's 42 years old. He's a grown adult. He should know not to drink and drive," said Butner through tears.

That is why she said she wanted to speak out, after getting word of the release hearing scheduled Monday morning for Warstler.

"They just informed me that he was trying to get out of jail and trying to go on house arrest. He doesn't deserve that, you know? I'm getting punished staying in here and I can't hold my 6-month-old baby," said Butner.

Butner's parents are now caring for her son while she recovers. She has had two major surgeries and doctors told her because of the accident, she may never be able to have another child.

"That man does not deserve to get out," she said, "He killed [Becky] and he put me here. He doesn't deserve to go home and be with his family. I can't be with mine. Becky's never going to be able to come home, either."

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