Carter Lake woman dies in I-480 crash Friday evening, Bluffs man arrested


December 31st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Council Bluffs  say a 52-year-old Carter Lake woman was killed Friday in a two-vehicle crash on eastbound Interstate 480 that tied up traffic for several hours. Police say Linda Steskal, of Carter Lake, died at the scene of the crash.  According to Council Bluffs Police Sgt. Chad Geer, an SUV driven by 45-year old Ronnie Dunbar, of Council Bluffs, was traveling at a high rate of speed at around 3:30-p.m. Friday, when it hit the rear of Steskal’s Chevy Malibu near the Dodge Street exit. Following the collision,the 4-door Malibu bounced off of a guardrail, spewing debris across the roadway. Police had to shut down all four eastbound lanes into Council Bluffs for more than three hours, while eastbound traffic was diverted back into downtown Omaha. Law officers from the Council Bluffs and Omaha police departments, the Iowa State Patrol and Nebraska State Patrol helped reroute traffic.

Steskal’s car sustained heavy front- and rear-end damage before it ended up in a ditch with the back window broken out and the hood folded up. The other vehicle, a Mercury Mountaineer, was on the north shoulder of I-480 east, facing west.  It had heavy damage to the driver’s side, with the back wheel broken. Sgt. Geer told reporters alcohol was found in the SUV, and officials were investigating whether alcohol use was a factor in the accident.

Dunbar fled the scene on foot following the crash, but was taken into custody near the Interstate 29 bridge over Ninth Avenue. He was arrested on suspicion of leaving the scene of an accident and driving with a suspended license. His passenger, 45-year old Michael Barnett, of Council Bluffs, was injured and taken to Mercy Hospital, where he was treated and released.