The next collision is out of Worth County and involves a teen driver, a deer and several passengers that are also teens.

- A crash occurred in Worth County on April 30, 2011

VEHICLE WAS NORTHBOUND ON RAVEN, DRIVER CROSSED THE CENTER OF ROAD OVERCORRECTED AND LOST CONTROL, VEHICLE ENTERED THE EAST DITCH ROLLED COMING TO REST FACING SOUTH IN EAST DITCH, INVESTIGATION CONTINUES BY IOWA STATE PATROL, ASSISTED BY PLYMOUTH FIRE, MANLY FIRE. -  This is both a rollover and a deer collision accident. It's a one-car accident involving a young 17-year-old driver from Mason City and a 15-year-old passenger. They are in a Jeep Grand Cherokee driving on Raven Avenue about a half mile south of Highway 9. To younger drivers let me give you some advice; hit the deer, don't try to avoid it, just take it out and duck in case it comes onto the hood and into the windshield. And probably more important than anything else, wear your seat belts put down the cell phone and pay attention to your driving. In this case the 15-year-old passenger died.

In the Full Reports section is a collision out of Hardin County. A crash occurred in Hardin County on May 3, 2011

UNIT 1 SOUTHBOUND C AVE / DOGWWOOD AVE. UNIT 2 EASTBOUND ON HARDIN AVE/HARDIN ST. BOTH VEHICLES ENTER INTO INTERSECTION. UNIT 1 COLLIDES INTO DRIVER'S DOOR OF UNIT 2. BOTH VEHICLE TRAVEL SOUTH EAST INTO DITCH. DRIVER UNIT 2 EJECTED DESPITE seat belt USE DUE TO SEVERITY OF THE DAMAGE SUSTAINED TO VEHICLE. - Commonly referred to as a T-bone accident, this one was extremely serious in that a person died as a result of the collision. According the police report even the seat belt couldn't save this driver's life. Apparently the officer thought it was due to the severity of the impact between the two vehicles. The first vehicle is a 3500 Chevrolet pickup truck - three and a half tons traveling in a 55 mph speed zone is being driven by 56-year-old Marlo White and is heading south on C Avenue or Dogwood Avenue in the vicinity of Hardin Street. In the other car, a 1991 Pontiac Grand Prix is a 17-year-old driver. (Westfall from Alden, Iowa.) The speed limit for both appears to be 55 mph. From what I can tell the first vehicle, the truck, is heading south and the teen in the car is coming from his right and will be heading to the east as she approached the intersection. (From the right you have the apparent right of way.) For her, the pickup truck is coming from her left and will be heading south through this intersection. Apparently there is a stop sign because one was damaged in the collision. The only stop sign shown on the drawing is for northbound traffic; although the drawing isn't entirely clear; I'd have to see the intersection to know exactly if the southbound truck has a stop sign. The young lady is ejected from her car and is fatally injured. Back in June 2010 I wrote a blog about uncontrolled intersections and who has the right of way. Here is the linked title. Uncontrolled Intersections in Rural Iowa Can Be a Serious Challenge.

What do you do when approaching an uncontrolled intersection?

Answer: Slow down. Look all ways. Be prepared to stop. Yield the car or truck on your left.

Who has the right of way at an uncontrolled intersection?

Answer: The car on the right has the right-of-way. The car that controls the intersection is the one already into the intersection. If they arrive at the same time then the one to the right gets to have the right-of-way. Control means the car is already into the intersection. First in - first out.

In Iowa what driver must yield at an uncontrolled intersection?

Answer: If you're coming from the left you shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicle on the right. Here is what the Uniform Jury Instructions state about Iowa law:

600.35  Approaching Or Entering Intersection.  When two vehicles enter an intersection at approximately the same time so that if both proceed without regard to the other a collision is reasonably to be expected, the vehicle on the left shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicle on the right.

A violation of this law is negligence.


Iowa Code section 321.319

Remember every driver has an ongoing duty to drive with due care and with a proper lookout. Here is what the Uniform Jury Instructions state about the law of lookout:

600.72  Lookout.  "Proper lookout" is the lookout a reasonable person would keep in the same or similar situation.  It means more than looking and seeing.  It includes being aware of the operation of the driver's vehicle in relation to what the driver saw or should have seen. [A driver need not keep a lookout to the rear all the time, but must be aware of the presence of others when the driver's actions may be dangerous to others.]

A violation of this duty is negligence.

I'll say one more thing about car accidents at intersections; and I'll address it to the young drivers. I'm not picking on you after all you're just learning the ways of the world and more adults have accidents. And that's my point. Adults are just as guilty about how they drive. In my neighborhood I live by a four-way uncontrolled intersection. Two of those streets are cul de sacs. That means we get twice as much traffic; and all neighbors who live on the cul de sac ending streets come by my home twice.  There is a guy and his wife who I swear think they are in a road race. I can hear their car engines rev up as they get up to ramp speed coming through the intersection. I've lived here for more than 10 years and have been waiting for the crash ever since the second week. Trust me it's coming but that's no excuse for me or my children to drive like idiots. And that goes for you. No matter how poor your parents drive don't be stupid and copycat them. Be smarter and drive safer. Stay alive and enjoy college. Life isn't always fair; so don't tempt fate and risk death or serious personal injury. When you approach an intersection slow down and look both ways; put your head on a swivel. Don't assume the other guy will obey the law or that he/she even knows what the law is. They may not know. If all else seems to be failing then yield the right-of-way. Give it up. Risking a high speed collision that takes the life of your BFF isn't worth the risk.

Today let's go beyond what I discussed before. Yesterday I discussed a two-car intersection collision that resulted in a 17-year-old's death from being broadsided by a large and heavy pickup truck. She's coming from the right so she had the relative right-of-way. My colleagues over at Grefe & Sydney, a well-known defense firm for the insurance industry, blogged about the Kamradth vs Froehlig case and did a nice job of describing the legal concept of relative right vs an absolute right. Know your rights but protect your life. I'd have to say it's my opinion a jury would find in favor of the young driver in this instance. I did note the officer showed a breath test was given, but no results are shown and no driver was shown to have been issued a citation for failure to yield the right of way or for driving while under the influence. This mva occurred at 7:40 a.m. on May 3, 2011.

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