Steven Rose, who runs Sunriver Construction, is in the process of writing the obituary for his son. But he still doesn’t know how he died or what caused his death.
Last month, the state Department of Corrections announced Richard Andrew Rose had died in custody at Two Rivers Correctional Institution at age 24. He was serving a five-year sentence for seriously injuring two people in a DUII crash in 2015.
Oregon State Police, which oversees the state Medical Examiner’s office, confirmed an autopsy was done on Richard Rose and that he died in a ambulance heading from the prison to an outside medical facility. But an OSP spokesman declined to provide Rose’s cause and manner of death or other information.
Steven Rose said state officials haven’t responded to calls or provided information about his son’s death.
“We are devastated,” he said. “Part of what’s so frustrating is we feel things are being covered up and drug out. It’s very odd.”
Steven Rose spoke with his son every week during his time in prison. “He was doing many things in there to better himself, as best he could,” he said. “The darkness that takes place in those environments, I just don’t know.”
Rose entered Two Rivers in May 2018 and was scheduled to be released in April 2022.
On the morning of Aug. 10, 2015, Rose, then 19, and friend Caleb Weeks awoke after a night of partying at a home in Bend and were driving to Weeks’ mother’s house in Sunriver.
Around 8 a.m., Rose’s 2002 Ford Explorer drifted from the southbound lanes of U.S. Highway 97 near the High Desert Museum into the northbound lanes, striking a Dodge 2500 pickup driven by Terry Neil.
The crash left Weeks and Neil with devastating injuries. Weeks has permanent scarring on his face. Neil broke nearly every major bone below his neck. Doctors put Neil in a medically induced coma, which left him completely blind.
Several weeks passed before prosecutors charged Rose with assault, DUII and other counts. Toxicology tests revealed four drugs in his system — marijuana, cocaine, Xanax and ketamine.
Rose ultimately pleaded guilty to DUII and two counts of third-degree assault and was sentenced at an emotional hearing.
Neil’s family asked the judge for partial leniency for Rose so he could participate in drug and alcohol rehabilitation in prison. His daughter told the court: “Something good has to come from this.”
Joyce Neil, wife of Terry, was notified of Rose’s death by a victim advocate in the Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office.
She immediately texted Steven Rose a message of condolence.
Joyce Neil said not knowing the circumstances surrounding Richard Rose’s death has been difficult for her family, as well.
“Right now, my husband is having a hard time processing it,” she said.
Joyce Neil said her husband’s life is very different today than before the crash. Last winter he quit taking narcotic painkillers because he didn’t like how they made his mind feel, she said. It’s meant “unimaginable pain,” though Joyce Neil said his mind is clearer.
Though he can’t stand for long, Terry Neil spends up to an hour and a half per day in his backyard swim spa. The weightlessness afforded by it is liberating, Joyce Neil said.
Richard Rose is survived by his parents and a younger brother and sister.
“We really wanted to see him come out of prison clean and sober and able to get a job and support himself and his family and be happy and productive in society,” Joyce Neil said. “It was definitely not the outcome we were hoping for his life.”