Joel Simpson (mug shot)

Joel Simpson (mug shot)

A man accused of driving a vehicle that hit a girl in a Des Moines park was released from the hospital Thursday and booked in the Polk County Jail. The incident was reported last Sunday in Union Park.

A witness called 911 and said a Jeep Cherokee drove through the park at more than 50 miles per hour before hitting a tree. She thought the vehicle may’ve hit someone. “Oh my God, it’s a girl,” the caller told the dispatcher after stepping closer to the scene. The girl, 14-year-old Melissa Robinson, was critically injured and remains hospitalized after she was hit and dragged by the Jeep for 75 feet.

The driver of the Jeep, 54-year-old Joel Simpson, was released from the hospital Thursday and charged with two counts of driving while barred. More charges could be filed pending laboratory tests.

Simpson has a long history of traffic violations, including drunken driving, but authorities do not believe alcohol was a factor in Sunday’s incident. Simpson was involved in a minor traffic accident in March after suffering a possible seizure.

Listen to the 9-1-1 call in the link below:
Union Park 9-1-1 4:02 MP3