Steven Matthew Daniels: Friends remember victim of deadly Interstate 17 crash

PHOENIX - Friends of Monday's fatal I-17 accident victim are talking about their friend and how they want him to be remembered.

They put up posters filled with loving messages outside his home in west Phoenix.

One man said "I got a text and said it was my friend and I just couldn't believe it at all."

Steven Matthew Daniels, 27, is described as a happy man who made friends easily.

Kendall Bush had known Daniels for several years. He said Daniels was "the kind of person that when he walked in a room he always had a smile on his face."

Daniels died Monday while riding his motorcycle on I-17 near Indian School Road. Small gas cylinders fell out of a flatbed truck and Daniels tried to swerve to avoid a crash. He was then hit by a different semi carrying gravel and died after the crash sparked a large vehicle fire.

Leroy Smith was friends with Daniels for the past fourteen years. He says he was more like a brother and their birthdays were only two days apart.

"We would celebrate every birthday and it just am I going to do?" Smith said.

Police arrested Joseph Ryan O'Conner in Daniel's death. They say he was the driver of the semi that started the chain accident who then drove away.

Daniels' friends say he wouldn't want them to be upset. Smith said, "I think about going out and getting mad because of this and I know he's telling me...just do right."

It's lessons like this he left his friends. They say even though they feel him in spirit they still feel the sting of his absence.

Bush said "It's a sad thing that he's gone now."

They are holding a car wash Saturday in Daniels' honor to help pay for funeral expenses. It will be held at the corner of 43rd Avenue and Dunlap Avenue in Phoenix.

The event will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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