SOUTHWEST IOWA — Four were injured in a crash south of the Interstate 80/Interstate 680 split on I80 westbound on Saturday.
Minden Fire and Rescue was called out to assist Neola Fire and Rescue at the scene at about 5 a.m., where a vehicle had left the roadway, and had caught fire in a deep ditch.
Responders were told on arrival that two of the vehicle’s occupants were unaccounted for, and at the time the vehicle was fully engulfed in flames.
Officials with Minden Fire and Rescue said, “(The) first arriving engine pulled lines for fast attack, while incoming units set up a perimeter to search the area. Upon investigation, units spotted two patients in a heavy wooded area around 20 yards from the blaze, calling for help,” adding it was “truly a team effort on a rapid response by all agencies.”
All four occupants were transported by two ambulances and LifeNet helicopter.
The Iowa State Patrol reported that alcohol and speed were apparently to blame for the rollover accident. The 2004 Mitsubishi Outlander was driven by 21-year old Richard Washington, of Lamoni. He and a front seat passenger were believed to have been ejected from the SUV. Two rear-seat passengers were able to get out of the vehicle, which burst into flames.
Washington and 21-year old Alexis Koch, of Sanford, Fla., were not wearing their seat belts. Washington was transported by Minden Rescue to Mercy Hospital. Koch was flown by LifeNet to the UNMC in Omaha. Two other victims, 27-year old Larry Reid, and 25-year old Steven Fernandez, both of Lamoni, wore their seat belts. They were transported by Neola Rescue to Mercy Hospital. The vehicle was a total loss.