The State Patrol has released it’s preliminary findings in the investigation of a traffic crash earlier this month that killed four people. Jessica Lown is spokesperson for the Iowa Department of Public Safety. "It looks like high speeds and alcohol were contributing factors to both the cause and severity of the accident," Lown says.
The crash happened on September 15 on Interstate 35 in Story County. A car slammed into a motor home that was broke down and parked on the shoulder. Investigators say the car was travelling 87 miles per hour on impact. The driver of the car and four passengers were killed. Lown says the driver had been drinking, but was not legally drunk. The car’s driver, 21 year old Zackry Thomas of Ottumwa, had a blood alcohol level below .08.
In addition to Thomas, the crash killed 27 year old Steve Atchison of Des Moines, 29 year old Gavin Granneman of Clive, and 22 year old Karli Manker of Iowa City. Another passenger, 26 year old Eric Hartung of Johnston, was seriously injured. Four occupants of the motor home were hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries.
"We always want to take an opportunity like this to remind everyone that driving is a responsibility that you should take seriously," Lown says. "It’s a tragic event, and we don’t want to see this on the road anymore."
The crash happened during the afternoon of the Iowa-Iowa State football game, and closed I-35 southbound for nearly three hours. No criminal charges will be filed in connection with the crash.