Everybody's friend: Candlelight vigil honors Eureka Springs man killed in accident
Friends of David Stettenbenz lit candles Tuesday night in his memory on Highway 62 East in Eureka Springs.
Stettenbenz died after his motorcycle was struck by a semi-truck at the intersection of Highway 62 East and Rock House Road, near the Echo Clinic, at 4:11 p.m. Saturday.
Eureka Springs Police Chief Thomas Achord confirmed that Stettenbenz had his dog, Roxie, on the motorcycle with him. Achord said the dog was injured in the accident and later euthanized.
Many candles lined the highway Tuesday night, as well as a rosary, flowers and a lighter.
"Those are just a few mementos for David," Nicole Blackwelder said.
Stettenbenz, she said, would have loved the items left to memorialize him.
"He would wish he was standing in the middle of those candles right now," Blackwelder said.
She noted that the items are indicative of the person Stettenbenz was, recalling his positive attitude and the way he made friends wherever he went.
"He'd wake up every morning, and it would make people mad sometimes, but he'd wake up every morning just happy he was alive. Like, 'Good morning world, I'm alive! Woo!' He was happy every single morning just to be alive," Blackwelder said.
Bobby Gosnell echoed how easily Stettenbenz formed relationships.
"He didn't know a stranger, and you would remember him if you ever met him," Gosnell said.
Gosnell said he and husband Shane Gosnell met Stettenbenz in 2003 when they moved to Eureka Springs. While working at the Basin Park and Crescent hotels, Gosnell said, he ran into Stettenbenz.
Harley Myers reported meeting Stettenbenz in a similar way.
"I was downtown. There was a person that was standing there by his bike just waving at people and talking," Myers said. "He was always smiling, always talking to everybody."
Mark Hicks and Mark Matt Miller spoke of the last time they saw Stettenbenz, saying he was as friendly as ever.
"He stopped by Tradewinds at about 4 p.m. on Saturday with a smile and a wave and I was like, 'Oh, he's saying goodbye,' " Hicks said.
The accident, he said, must have happened shortly after that exchange.
Miller recalled showing a home and seeing Stettenbenz walking Roxie; in that moment, Miller said, he didn't think that would be the last time he saw his friend.
"Stuff like that never enters your mind," Miller said.
Stettenbenz's memorial service takes place at 2 p.m. Friday, June 12, at Mt. Union Baptist Church in El Dorado.