A wreck on Interstate-80 involving three semis shut down the westbound lanes for about five hours this morning just east of Des Moines. Iowa Department of Public Safety spokesman James Saunders says the wreck happened shortly after four a.m. A semi pulling out of a rest area near Mitchellville was rear-ended by another semi.
Todd Phillips, Junior, of Knoxville was driving east on I-80 and stopped to help. But then a third semi driven by John Donahue of Exira hit the semi that had rear-ended the first truck and Phillips — the pedestrian on the scene — wound up getting hit. Phillips and Thomas Kyle of Lake Park, Iowa — the trucker who struck the semi that had just pulled out of the rest area — were transported to Des Moines hospitals.
"I don’t have any specific condition reports, but it was my understanding that neither Mr. Kyle nor Mr. Phillips received what they would deem life-threatening injuries," Saunders says. The trucker in the first rig — Jose Garcia of Montreal, Quebec — was not injured. Saunders says it’s too early to say whether charges will be filed against any of those involved. "Just due to the fact that (it’s) a multiple-vehicle accident," he says. "Probably be a few days before the investigation is totally completed and that decision’s made."
There have been two other major traffic snarls in Iowa today. Dena Grey-Fisher of the Iowa DOT says a semi overturned and dumped its load along Interstate-29 at the Loveland exit. There’s been an overturned semi on the ramp there. It was carrying some canned goods that have spilled out," she says. "It’s going to take ’til about noon to be cleaned up." Grey-Fisher has no idea what’s inside those cans. "It obviously is a mess," she says. A four-vehicle pile up on Highway 65 near Altoona has been cleared, too.