Stephen Bale, 52, of Fenton, died from his injuries Monday, Nov. 25 at Ascension Genesys Hospital in Grand Blanc Township. He was involved in a pedestrian injury crash with a 1993 Chevrolet
Suburban at 8:45 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 24 on Owen Road, west of U.S. 23 in Fenton.
Fenton Police Chief Jason Slater said in a press release Monday afternoon that police were dispatched to a report of a pedestrian who was struck by a vehicle while crossing Owen Road. Bale was wheelchair bound and was crossing from the north side of Owen Road to the south side without utilizing the crosswalk.
Bale sustained serious injuries and died early Monday morning.
The driver of the Suburban was a 38-year-old Fenton woman. She had one other occupant in her vehicle. Neither of them were injured.
Fenton police were assisted by the Fenton Fire Department, Michigan State Police, Genesee County Sheriff’s Office and STAT EMS.
Owen Road was closed for several hours to allow officers and detectives to complete the on-scene investigation.
Neither alcohol nor speed are believed to be a factor, however, as standard procedure the Genesee County Prosecutor’s Office will review the police report.
Cheryl Burtch of Fenton got to casually know Bale when she regularly saw him sitting outside the Chinese restaurant on N. LeRoy Street. To her understanding, he was owed some Social Security money, however, the lack of identification was a problem.
She said Bale would sip on coffee, not bothering anyone. One day, she spoke with him and noticed the awful condition of his wheelchair. She decided to give him her brother’s old wheelchair, which he was very excited about.
Burtch said several people in the community reached out to Bale to offer help and kindness, including the owner of Growhead grow shop on N. LeRoy. She added that BoRics would give Bale haircuts and Community Threads provided clothes from an account set up by the Growhead owner.
Oftentimes, neighbors or businesses would give Bale gift cards so that he could buy coffee or food. Burtch has even seen strangers walk up to him and give him carryout bags of food. “Steve gave many people the opportunity to show kindness and mercy,” Burtch said. “We did it out of the kindness of our hearts because Steve could be any one of us.”
Nancy DeKatch, a former caregiver for Bale, said a memorial has been arranged for Tuesday, Dec. 3, at 11 a.m., at Hill Road Baptist Church, at 3500 W. Hill Rd., Flint. For details, call Rev. Kenneth R. Gillardat (810) 238-5572.