Two Local Women Killed by Suspected Drunk Driver

By: News
By: News

A suspected drunk driver is being held responsible for a fatal traffic crash that killed two Okaloosa County women Saturday morning.

The crash happened in Panama City Beach at the intersection of Highway 98 and 79 around 6:45am, claiming the life of MaryJo Badal, 78, and Mary Birks, 75.

The two were in their car in the eastbound turn lane waiting at the light on Highway 98 to turn north on SR 79 when 23-year old Jonathan Dillard rear-ended them in his vehicle. The accident is still under investigation, but police say the scene looks as though Dillard made no attempt to stop. Officers speculated he was driving at at least 70 MPH when he crashed into the rear end of the lady's car.They also say they believe Dillard was under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

Authorities say the crash was so violent on impact that the victim's vehicle was pushed into the middle of the intersection. Dillard has been arrested and booked into the Bay County Jail.

He faces two counts of DUI-Manslaughter. Both women were rushed by Paramedics to the BMC Trauma Center but their injuries were so severe they died enroute.


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  • by Sandy Location: Fort walton bch, fl on Jun 14, 2012 at 05:49 PM
    I cant believe this has happened to such wonderful ladies, Maryjo and Mary you will truly be missed by the High Tide family..I myself just found out today about loosing you both and still am in shock..When you both would come in together Gram would start your oyster's, and oh how they both loved there Fried Shrimp!!..I cant believe we are not ever going to see you two walk into the High tide again, but we will never forget your smiles and laughter..... My Love and Prayer's go out to all... And i do believe justice will happen, if not here on earth then with the Lord himself...
  • by Ray Location: Panama City Beach on Jun 13, 2012 at 09:07 PM
    Quote by Anonymous: "I know Jonathan and he is a very nice guy he would have never done this on purpose." Yes, he did this on purpose. There has been enough education about impaired driving that any reasonably intelligent person well knows, or should know, the danger they are creating by getting behind the wheel of a vehicle. The moment he did this, he made a conscious decision to endanger other people's lives. As far as him being a nice guy, he may be some day if he asks the Lord to forgive him, and turns his life around. However, for now, he was not, and is not, a nice guy. A nice guy would not have endangered anyone's life in that manner. And, you mispeak when you say that God used these two ladies to turn this man's life around. God had nothing to do with the death of these ladies. He could use the results as he sees fit, but he does not create evil acts to further His purposes. Humans create evil acts.
  • by Janie (Birks) Faile on Jun 12, 2012 at 08:42 AM
    There is no excuse or rational reason. This 23 yr old man took 2 lives and tried to take somebody elses , by police reports earlier that day by smothering with pillow. News Hearld today has details. He was high on LSD, MJ, and achohol...why else would somebody go by PCB Police Dept going 70 MPH. Prayers and condoliences go out to the families.
  • by LB Location: PCB on Jun 12, 2012 at 06:36 AM
    Does anybody know if the ladies were in the far left turning lane or the left lane? I have seen people get confused by the lights and think there are two turning lanes. If they were in far left turning lane, it means the other driver had to steer left into that lane that isnt very long. Im not looking for excuses for what he did, just understanding the correct details. EDITOR -- They were in the far lef5t turn lane, stopped for a traffic light when they were struck from the rear by a motorist traveling at an high rate of speed.
  • by Georgia Location: WR, GA on Jun 11, 2012 at 09:49 AM
    Fist of all, I would like to give my condolences to the familes. I know this is difficult and trying time. Secondly, in response to Anonymous posting, you are blaming law enforcement is that correct? How about placing blame on the person who actually caused the accident? If the person was actually doing 70 mph, is that a 70 mph zone? If the person was under the influence, does the person not have any sense not to get behind the wheel of vehicle? Don't we have any responsibility? When does society stop laying blame on the government and everyone and everything and start taking some of the responsibility. Maybe the United States would get back some of its back bone instead of bending to everyone! Good grief!
  • by Ernest Location: PCB on Jun 11, 2012 at 07:54 AM
    He must have been drinking all night, this is so sad, I never would have thought something like this could happen to so early in the morning. I hope justice is served and he spends a good portion of his life in jail. My prayers goes out to all. It’s time we citizens of PCB demand that we get our beach back
  • by Anonymous on Jun 11, 2012 at 06:32 AM
    This is very terrible and I feel for all the families involved including Jonathan and his family. Justice will be served but the worse punishment of all will be having to live with the fact that he killed two people. I know Jonathan and he is a very nice guy he would have never done this on purpose. They havent given his side of the story so no one really knows, if there were no signs of stopping maybe something happened. People should serve time for such crimes but dont judge someone you dont know and dont think that this poor kid has to live with the fact that he killed two ladies. Maybe if law enforcement would buckle down and do something about drinkin and driving then such things wouldnt happen. People would be too scared to do it. One man goes to jail for DUI another man gets off scott free for DUI Manslaughter...... that should tell you something about our law enforcement in all the surrounding counties.
    • reply
      by Wayne on Jun 11, 2012 at 10:36 AM in reply to
      Dear Anonymous, I just read about the actions of the “nice guy” just prior to him killing two innocent ladies. Don’t try to sell me sympathy for Jonathan! I have sympathy for his family but none for him. There is one person to blame for this tragedy. It’s not “Law enforcement,” it’s not, “maybe something happened!” The facts are he chose to do drugs and he chose to drive! The consequences of HIS decisions cost the lives of two ladies that manage to make it to their seventies only to be killed by an idiot! Justice will be served? How? Jonathan is still alive. MaryJo Badal, 78, and Mary Birks, 75 are not! “The worse punishment of all will be having to live with the fact that he killed two people?” Really! Try convincing the families of MaryJo Badal and Mary Birks that statement is true! God Bless these families!
  • by JANE Location: Minneapolis on Jun 10, 2012 at 04:05 PM
    All of your Minneapolis family & FRIENDS will miss you SOOOOO much. You are very special to us. May God be with your family at this time. We will cherish our last Sunday chat even more now.
  • by Dave Location: pcb on Jun 10, 2012 at 01:57 PM
    Barbara This happened in the morning and right in front of the cop shop!
  • by Liz Reagan Madden on Jun 10, 2012 at 11:29 AM
    The Reagan family is devasted by this accident. Both Maryjo and Mary have been family friends of ours for decades. We are in grief and are heartsick for the families
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