November 27, 2014

Polk County fire victim identified

Officials have identified a man who was badly injured in a fire this week northwest of Des Moines. The fire broke out Monday afternoon at an auto parts business located in a large warehouse. Witnesses said there was an explosion and one person was taken to a Des Moines hospital.

The Polk County Sheriff’s office reports the victim, 38-year-old Jason Capps of Des Moines, was later transported to University of Iowa Hospitals. There’s no information on Capps’ condition. It’s believed the fire started when an employee of a business inside the warehouse was mixing chemicals.

The fire destroyed the metal building and its contents, which included nine classic cars that were being restored.


Mason City man faces charges after leaving accident scene

Police-lightsA Mason City man faces multiple charges after making one bad decision after another in the snow Tuesday morning. Police say 23-year-old Eric Sombright was behind a school bus when his car slid on the ice and struck the back of the bus.

He then reportedly drove around the bus and fled the scene, running a stop sign at an intersection two blocks away where his vehicle struck a car driven by 44-year-old Deidra Rattay, which then struck a car driven by 54-year-old Jay Teepe of Mason City. Nobody was injured in either accident.

Sombright was charged with having no driver’s license, not having insurance, failure to stop at a clear distance, and failing to obey a traffic control device.

(Reporting by Bob Fisher, KRIB, Mason City)


Iowa City police officers injured while cleaning guns

ICPD-patchTwo Iowa City police officers were injured when a gun went off while it was being cleaned. The department says officers were in the process of cleaning and conducting maintenance on their weapons at a department substation Monday after a day of special training.

One of the officers accidentally shot a weapon which the department says injured that officer and another officer who was standing nearby. Both officers were taken to the hospital where they were treated and eventually released.

The department has not released the officer’s names and says it is conducting an internal investigation of the accident.


Westfield woman dies in western Iowa accident

Ambulance-Back-DoorA woman from the northwest Iowa town of Westfield was killed last night in a collision on Highway 12 near the Plymouth-Woodbury County line. Barbara Dewey was waiting at a red light for a temporary traffic control light located south of a construction zone.

Apparently, a Ford Ranger pickup truck being driven by Debra Jordan, of Sioux City, rear-ended the Dewey vehicle. Both vehicles were in the ditch when Sioux City Police officers arrived on the scene. Both drivers were transported to Mercy Medical Center where Dewey died from injuries she sustained from the accident. Jordan is being held at Mercy for further observation.

(Reporting by Dennis Morrice, KLEM, Le Mars)


Patrol reminds you to take your time and get acclimated to winter conditions

Patrol-logoThe Iowa State Patrol is reminding motorists to slow down, drive defensively, and to be aware of the changing road conditions as we transition into winter.

Trooper Vince Kurtz says the first snow always create headaches. “When you’ve got so many people who don’t remember what it’s like to drive on snow and ice, there are always going to be crashes in that first snow. Law enforcement and emergency services always dread that first snow, because people have forgotten how to drive,” Kurtz says.

He suggests you equip your vehicle with a winter survivor’s kit, and have the vehicle checked by a mechanic before dangerous winter conditions strike. Kurtz says there are several things that need to be checked to prep your car for winter.

He says they can check the tire tread, tire inflation, antifreeze, wiper blades, the battery condition. Kurtz says it’s good to get those things done ahead of time, so you aren’t left out in the cold. And you can check the state road reports before heading out on any trip.

(Reporting by Dennis Morrice, KLEM, Le Mars)


Motorcycle strikes man at Fort Dodge track

An unusual weekend mishap landed a central Iowa man in the hospital. A Fort Dodge man was seriously injured Sunday afternoon when he was struck by an airborne motorcycle at an off road park. Thirty-year-old Mitchell J. Frank went on to the track at Gypsum City OHV Park in Fort Dodge to get a younger rider who had ridden out on to the track and into the path of other vehicles.

While on the track a motorcycle being operated by a juvenile came over a jump and landed on Frank with the peg of the cycle hitting him in the head. Frank was air-lifted to Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines where he is being treated for a head injury. His condition is not known.

(Reporting by Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)


Wisconsin man stabs himself at Villisca axe murder house


House in Villisca where an entire family was murdered in 1912.

The southwest Iowa house that’s served as an attraction for ghost hunters since a mass murder there in 1912 was the site of a stabbing early this morning.

Authorities says a Wisconsin man, who was visiting the Villisca Axe Murder house as part of a recreational paranormal investigation, stabbed himself around 12:45 A.M.

Robert Steven Laursen, Junior, of Rhinelander, Wisconsin, was transported to the hospital in Clarinda before being flown to a trauma center in Omaha. A report on his condition is currently not available.

Officials say since there was no indication of foul play, it’s unlikely charges will be filed. Six children and two adults were murdered in the house just over a century ago in a crime that was never solved.

(Reporting by Ric Hanson, KJAN, Atlantic)