Driver apologizes to victim injured in Loudon County wreck in court


DREW GARDNER-6 News Reporter

LOUDON (WATE) - The driver involved in a head-on crash that injured a Monroe County man apologized to the victim in court Wednesday. It was the first time the two had met.

It's been more than two months since the head-on crash broke every bone on the right side of Dan Hall's body.

Nicholas Steffa hit Hall's car head on after falling asleep at the wheel while driving down Highway 411 in the early morning hours of Oct. 1.

Steffa was eventually charged with driving under the influence for the fourth time, but Steffa says it wasn't drugs or alcohol that he was on that morning.

"I took a sleeping pill the night before," said Steffa.

Wednesday was Steffa's first court appearance, but it was also his first time meeting Hall. He says he's been wanting to meet him since the accident happened.

"Just wanted to tell him I'm sorry for all the hurt that I've caused him and his family and I hope he gets to feeling better," said Steffa.

After appearing before the judge, Steffa finally got his chance.

"I feel bad," said Steffa. "I felt bad before. I felt bad the day they told me someone was hurt. I wanted to see him in the hospital but they wouldn't let me."

"I really don't know what to say," said Hall.

While caught off guard by the apology, Hall said he believes Steffa is being sincere. He isn't sure what to say about his claims about being on sleeping pills.

Steffa says he took a blood test that will eventually show the truth.

"We'll see what the blood test says and go from there," said Hall.

But where he goes from here is what Hall is having a hard time figuring out.

He says his main focus will be healing and continuing his efforts to pass Amelia's Law, which would help keep convicted felons in jail longer.

"We can't change what's already happened, but we may be able to protect other people," said Hall.

Steffa was appointed a public defender and his case was continued until Feb. 13.