News Round-up for Iowa

News #1: I-35 Truck-Car Accident at Bevington Construction Zone - Three drivers were injured in a late afternoon accident near Bevington, Iowa in the construction zone on Interstate 35 just south of West Des Moines. The crash site caused a detour when a Ford F-150 driven by Kaitlynn Knisley, 19 or Indianola who was heading southbound crossed the centerline and ran into a Ford C-Max car being driven by Randy Thompson of Dubuque. A Toyota Camry being driven by Brittany Winship of Bondurant then ran into the rear of the C-Max Truck. Like most construction zones on the interstate highways in Iowa this one was a two-lane, head-to-head traffic pattern. The most important question of course has to do with what caused the Knisley vehicle to cross the center line and to strike the Thompson vehicle. [Likely legal Issues: Speed, failure to maintain control, crossing the center line, distracted driving and probably failing to drive using due care.]

News #2: Pedestrian- Train Accident Leads to Fatality - Clarke County, Iowa – The Osceola police are set to investigate a pedestrian accident involving a train near the Osceola Train Depot.

News #3: Wrong-Way Driver on I-35 in Ankeny, Iowa – There was a wrong-way head on crash with five vehicles being involved and resulting in three DWI (drunk driving or OWI) arrests. The report from KCCI indicates a Red Chevy Cobalt did a U-turn on I-35 northbound and started driving south in the northbound lanes. I have read so many wrong-way accident news reports that even I can’t believe the number of times it is occurring. In Germany they were first to name these types of accidents ‘Ghost-drivers’.

To learn more about wrong-way interstate driving go to the Lombardi Law Firm website and in the search box type “wrong-way”. A list of blogs, stories and FAQ’s are available.

According to KCCI-9 here is what happened. “A red Chrysler Sebring crashed into the Saab and then continued northbound.  Troopers said that as the Sebring tried to leave the scene, it crashed into a Silver GMC Terrain, sending both into the ditch.

The driver of the Sebring, Juanita Rodriguez, of Ames, and the driver of the Cobalt, Bailee Wieden, of Ankeny, were both charged with OWI.

The interstate had to be closed while the crash was investigated and cleaned up.

Troopers reported that during that time, a driver on the detour, Beth Trafton, of Ankeny, was also arrested and charged with OWI.”

Follow this link to see what appears to be the mug shots of three women drivers who were arrested.

News #4: In another report a 19-year-old man died after his motorcycle crashed while attempting to pass two cars on Iowa Highway 58. While trying to complete the passing move he lost control, struck the center cable barrier and crashed. He died of head injuries, which indicates he may not have been wearing a helmet.

News #5: An Exxon oil well fire in North Dakota took the life of a field service worker.

News #6: We should all expect farm accidents to increase over the next few years as farm incomes fall to from a 10-year-average of $80,000 to just $18,000. As incomes fall corners get cut, farmers work longer and longer hours with fewer and fewer helpers as they attempt to reduce costs. As corners get cut, injuries increase. The situation was even worse in Kansas where average incomes are at $4,568 versus the previous year’s average of $128,731.

Here is a quote from the Iowa Public Radio report along with a link to the Iowa Farm Business Association news item. “The picture was nearly as dire in Nebraska. Average net farm income there in 2015 was $29,432, an 80 percent drop from the previous year, according to data compiled by Nebraska Farm Business financial analysts. In Iowa, the average net farm income was $18,000 in 2015, down from a 10-year average of $80,000, according to the Iowa Farm Business Association.” It’s even worse in the oil-patches around the nation.

News #7: In Florida the tail-end of the Scott Rothstein Ponzi scheme continues to wind its way through the criminal justice system as Tony Villegas is tried for the murder of Melissa Britt Lewis. She was a partner in the firm and was murdered in 2008. I first covered this story in March 2008, then asking questions in what seemed like a murder mystery involving a young lawyer. For the Sun Sentinel reporting follow this link. Iowa has its own little Ponzi scheme right up in Waterloo. Link to Waterloo. Law firm is closing down in wake of claimed theft by former president.

News #8: Ronald McDonald Meets Justice - And the last news item today is the one involving the Warren County Courthouse where repairs are needed, but not being made, and apparently 5th Judicial District Chief Judge, Arthur Gamble has had to meet with the Warren County Supervisors to discuss the need for capital repairs. Most people who enter the courthouse probably do so and don’t realize the courts do not own the courthouses. The State of Iowa employs the judicial staff (judges included) but the buildings are owned by each county where the courthouses are located. In Warren County the problems are particularly acute and now require the Courts, the Clerk of Court, County Attorney and Sheriff’s offices to be moved, likely for three-plus years. According to the news report Warren County’s annual budget is $24 million of which half is payroll. Here is a quote from that news report. “"I have employees here…they'd rather go to the McDonald's bathroom than use the restrooms here at the Warren County Courthouse," Gamble told supervisors.”

Steve Lombardi
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Iowa personal injury, workers' compensation, motorcycle, quadriplegic, paraplegic, brain injury, death
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