Wrecks


Tyler Toll

Tyler Toll was only 18 when he died in a car wreck on Tuesday. His passing has left those who knew him grief-stricken, with many memories of their times together.

The Facebook group Tyler Toll Memorial, started by a junior high student at Toll’s school, Cedar Valley Christian, is a monument to the young man’s influence and faith. More than 500 people have joined the group in support of his family and friends. I’d encourage you to check it out if you have a Facebook account. Many of the entries made me cry.

If you don’t have Facebook, here’s an excerpt:

From Ashley M. — i miss you sooo much even tho we havent talked much lately i feel like something is missing…ik ill see you again its just hard to wait. Im actually jealous of you, ur in such a better place now…no more worries, tears, pain…nothing but complete joyyy…you lucky duck! youve taught me so much…to just live life the way we are suppose to and do the things we want cuz its sooo short. I wanna be more like you…and just try and enjoy every lilttle thing. ill never forget you ever! && i cant wait to see you again…ull always be in my heart!
love youuuuu tylerrrr♥ ♥ ♥

Just like apparently more than 10 percent of people STILL think Barack Obama is a Muslim/terrorist sympathizer, the rumor that Ronald Kitch meant to cause the wreck that tipped over the WindStar bus near Tama last week is baloney. Well, at least from what I can find.

Kitch, 79, simply doesn’t remember what happened, said Iowa State Patrol Trooper Eric Vanderwiel. He did not intentionally cross the center line, for suicidal or other purposes. It was purely accidental.

“I heard that rumor before I even got there,” Vanderwiel said. “I don’t know who started it, but it’s wrong.”

Things that are true are that Kitch’s house was slightly flooded, and he goes to the casino several times a week. At any rate, if I’ve learned anything in life, it’s this: People will believe what they want to believe, and hear what they want to hear.

When I wrote my story in Friday’s paper about the car that crashed into the WindStar bus on Wednesday morning, I stuck to the facts. But no matter how I wrote the story, I knew people would try to blame Tama County Deputy Chad Hansen for not doing something to stop Ronald Kitch from driving. I usually never talk about how I feel in situations relating to my job. This time, I need to.

What could Hansen have done to prevent the bus crash? Even if Hansen had written Kitch a ticket for hitting the telephone pole, he still could have driven home. No one would be taken off the road unless their driving skills were clearly impaired. And, like Hansen told me, he didn’t see anything unusual about his driving. He followed him long enough to notice anything that could have been wrong. Kitch was simply tired. And who knows what influenced him in the second one? The Iowa State Trooper who handled the accident report said Kitch didn’t remember what happened. Like I wrote in my story, he was looking at his dog.

Law enforcement officers are always damned if they do, damned if they don’t, in my opinion. Someone, somewhere, will think they made the wrong decision, whether it’s to show a little compassion to an older gentleman who appeared to just be tired or absolutely refuse to let him drive another inch. If Hansen had made him stop driving, I’m sure some of the same people would be screaming about it. That doesn’t keep us from holding them accountable for truly bad decision-making, though. In this case, it could have gone either way.

If anyone’s going to point fingers (and nothing good ever comes from that), place the blame where it really belongs: No matter the reason, Kitch’s car crossed the center line. End of story.

You can’t correctly identify a man as a man when you are provided the correct gender listing on the accident report all the time…can you? And in such a unique situation…but still…all right, I’m giving it up. We made a whoopsie.

Claire E. Warner, 60, of Solon, better known as Gene Warner — father of Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner — was driving north on Sandy Beach Road in Shueyville on April 16 when Marvin Gregor attempted to turn in front of him. Their pickups hit head-on. Gregor, 88, was transferred to Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids, where he died from complications of his injuries Tuesday. Warner was not injured.

We originally identified Claire with a “she” pronoun. A relative pointed out our error to us. All we can say is sorry, man. And write a correction in the paper.

Semi crashes off of Interstate 380 bridge

 This semi cab crashed off the Interstate 380 northbound bridge over First Avenue W about 3 p.m. Police said the roads were slick from rain and sand. The driver lost control around the curve and rammed through the railing, and the cab fell 40 feet to the ground. Miraculously, the man walked out of the wreckage with minor injuries, but he was still taken to a hospital for observation.

Officials spent the afternoon trying to soak up the diesel fuel that spilled all over the interstate and the grass with kitty litter and picking up random debris. NOTE: That silver barrel-looking object to the right of the crushed truck cab was the fuel tank.

A little less than a year ago, a semi struck a guardrail in nearly the same location but in the southbound lanes. Pieces of the cab fell to the ground, but the truck stayed on the interstate. It was also raining at the time.