Teen may have been texting before fatal crash


August 5th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Pottawattamie County 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 near 19591 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. He says “It appears she was texting around the time the accident occurred.” Danker acknowledges they can’t prove that, but there was nothing else to indicate why the car dropped off the shoulder,  on the passenger side of the road.
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.