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Resolution to Walmart Crash Investigation Could Take Months

Posted: Wednesday, January 11th, 2017 at 6:01 am
Author: KNIA/KRLS News - Andrew Schneider

The final report for the crash that killed three people and injured two others at the Pella Walmart could take months to complete.

Marion County Attorney Ed Bull will have the final say as to whether charges are filed or not. However, Bull tells KNIA/KRLS News his office won’t make a decision until they have reports from both the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and the Iowa State Patrol. As of this afternoon, he has received neither. Bull has no indication on a timeline as to when he will receive the information necessary to determine if criminal charges are appropriate.

According to Iowa State Patrol Sgt. Nathan Ludwig, there is a backlog of technical investigations into fatal accidents statewide due to a sharp increase in the number of incidents reported. In 2016, 402 people were killed on Iowa’s roadways, and Ludwig says the number of total cases increased by over 50 from 2015.

On December 1st, 2016, Carrie Zugg, 31, of Leighton, Lindsey Rietveld, 29, of Bussey, and Ruth Jean DeJong, 76, of Pella, were all killed when a Ford truck driven by Dennis Mockenhaupt, 66, of Knoxville slammed through the front door of the Walmart store in Pella. The Iowa DCI and Iowa State Patrol have not released any official cause, but investigators believed at the time of the crash that the incident was accidental in nature.

According to Walmart Corporation Communications, repairs have been made to the concrete bollards and the door in front of the store, but no additional changes have been made at this time.

State Senator Ken Rozenboom has also said previously to KNIA/KRLS he would explore legislative possibilities in regards to storefront safety this session, but ultimately, feels Walmart’s actions and local code changes could help prevent further tragedies as opposed to state-level regulation.