One person is dead and another injured following a traffic accident in downtown Hailey on Thursday night.
Stephen Begley, 64, died by suicide after hitting a pedestrian with his car on the south end of Main Street before 9 p.m. on March 25, Hailey Police Chief Steve England confirmed Tuesday morning. Begley, a Hailey resident, was northbound in the inside lane when he struck 42-year-old Sarah Cardella of Boise with his Subaru Outback near the intersection with Maple Street. Cardella was walking westbound with her husband and dog in a crosswalk at the time.
Cardella was transferred to St. Luke's Wood River Hospital, according to Wood River Fire & Rescue Chief Ron Bateman. Her injuries were not considered life-threatening, England told the Express midday Friday. Her husband and dog were uninjured, he said.
After the accident, Begley got out of his car and “observed what happened,” England said in a statement. Then, he returned to the car, sat back down in the driver’s seat “and took his own life by an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head,” England said.
Begley was talking on his cell phone at the time of the collision, according to England’s statement.
“The case is still pending Begley’s toxicology results,” he said.
Next of kin were notified Friday afternoon, Blaine County Coroner Russ Mikel told the Express. Mikel was called to the scene around 10 p.m. Thursday night. He ruled the death a suicide shortly thereafter, he said Friday morning.
Begley died on his 64th birthday, according to a Wood River Chapel listing.
In 2015, Begley pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of inattentive driving and was sentenced to 90 days in jail, with 88 days suspended, court records show. An inattentive driving charge is less serious than a reckless driving charge in Idaho.
The accident highlights a portion of downtown Hailey already on the radar of city officials. In several council meetings last summer, Hailey City Councilwoman Heidi Husbands expressed concern over the lack of a stoplight at the intersection of Maple and Main Street.
“Cars attempting to turn south is an accident waiting to happen,” she said in May, “especially because of the sight line around the curve.”