Pottawattamie County authorities say a double-fatal crash July 17th just north of Council Bluffs, may have been caused by the driver texting a message and not paying attention to the road.
The driver of the vehicle, 19-year-old Elizabeth Chadwick of rural Crescent, and her passenger, 18-year-old Jessica Weinfurtner, of Council Bluffs, died in the late night crash with another vehicle.
An investigation by the sheriff’s office showed Chadwick, who was driving a 2003 Mitsubishi Eclipse, was southbound on Old Lincoln Highway, when her car drifted off the road to the right.
When Chadwick over-corrected, the car entered the northbound lane and collided with an airport shuttle van. The accident happened at around 11:15 p.m. Both women died at the scene.
Pottawattamie County Sheriff Jeff Danker said Chadwick had placed a phone call at 11:10 p.m., and then sent a text message at 11:11 p.m.
Sheriff Danker says, “It appears she was texting around the time the accident occurred.” Danker acknowledged that while they can’t prove that, there was nothing else to indicate how the accident happened.
Authorities found alcohol in the car at the crash scene, but a toxicology report showed alcohol was not a factor. The report also showed trace amounts of marijuana were in the system of both women.
Ric Hanson, KJAN, Atlantic