The state’s public safety commissioner says investigators may never determine what caused the accident that killed a state trooper last week.
Witnesses say Trooper Mark Toney’s squad car was moving a high speed on a highway just south of Indianola when it rolled into a ditch and burst into flames. Public Safety Commissioner Larry Noble spoke with reporters this morning.
“We have a crash investigation team and our best investigator on this, but it will take several weeks and we look forward to determining a cause, but we may never know,” Noble said. “In some of these crashes, they’re terrible enough it’s hard to come up with a cause.” Noble is a retired state trooper himself and he said losing Toney “was particularly hard” for the patrol.
“The autopsy did not show any type of health issues,” he told reporters. “The vehicle has been examined and we have not found any defects in the vehicle either.”
Noble and Iowa Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds attended Toney’s funeral in Ankeny on Saturday. Reynolds used the Branstad Administration’s weekly news conference to issue a general note of caution to motorists about dangers on the road. Reynolds focuses on the seasonal danger of intense sunlight as people drive to and from work, along with the potential hazards slow-moving farm vehicles pose on the roads during harvest.
“We need to consider the sun’s location,” Reynolds said. “Motorists may have more difficulty navigating around farm equipment when the sun is rising or setting and do not assume that a farm vehicle will be able to move aside to allow cars to pass.”
Last year, there were 208 accidents in Iowa involving farm equipment. Six people died in those crashes and 14 others were seriously injured.