Today we have just one fatality report. For as long as I've been doing this that's an unusual occurrence; a good one but an unusual one. The narrative is below and it is a full report from Mills County, Iowa that occurred on January 20, 2011 that occurred in the northbound lanes of I-29 at the 33.50 mile marker. It's a single-car accident involving a 43-year-old man from Rockport, Missouri and another gentleman of a similar age. From what the report states he, Howard Gearhart was driving a 2006 Chevrolet 1500 pickup truck lost control, overcorrected, ended up off the road and crashed into a guardrail, owned by the State of Iowa. Further the report has a passenger, Brian Tucker, being ejected from the truck and then being injured and flown by air ambulance to Creighton University Medical Center. The driver is listed as having died from injuries in the crash.
Now depending on whether alcohol is involved, and I wouldn't think it was because the accident happened at 9:05 a.m. on January 20th, the legal issues will involve the negligence of the driver surrounding speed, control and lookout. The passenger, while free from fault for driving will in Iowa have to contend with not using a seat belt and can be assessed 5% of fault of which means his damages would be reduced by that amount.
Another aspect of this claim will involve making sure the driver has an estate opened to protect the claim of the passenger while they deal with the driver's liability insurance carrier and the under or uninsured motorist claim.
This case demonstrates that even single vehicle accidents can be interesting to investigate and to litigate.
UNIT 1 WAS NORTHBOUND ON I-29, IN THE RIGHT LANE, AT THE 33.50MM. UNIT 1 MOVED INTO THE LEFT LANE TO PASS ANOTHER VEHICLE AND LOST CONTROL, HIT A GUARDRAIL IN THE MEDIAN, AND SLID INTO THE MEDIAN. WHILE UNIT 1 SLID INTO THE MEDIAN IT ROLLED, AND CAME TO REST FACING SOUTHBOUND IN THE INSIDE SOUTHBOUND LANE.
If you would like to read the news articles see below:
...29 in Mills County. The Iowa State Patrol reports a pickup heading northbound entered the median, struck a guardrail, rolled and ended up in the southbound lanes. Both the driver and a passenger were ejected and one of the individuals died at the scene. The other was airlifted to a hospital in Omaha. The victim's names have not been released
from Radio Iowa - Jan 20, 2011 3:38 PM