In an update to our earlier story, the Iowa State Patrol Wednesday evening released more information about an accident which occurred Wednesday afternoon that killed one person and injured two IA DOT Motor Vehicle Enforcement officers. Officials say 52-year old Bruce Coenen, of Harlan, died in the crash. DOT officers Brian Rink, age 40, of Griswold, and Kent Liebe, age 58, of Carter Lake, were injured.
The Daily NonPareil, quoting Police dispatch reports, said Coenen had left a behavioral facility in Harlan, smelling of alcohol. The 2003 Pontiac Bonneville he was driving travelled south on Highway 59 for nine-miles at speeds of up to 100-miles per hours, with a Harlan Police officer in pursuit. The car slammed into the DOT enforcement officers’ 2012 Chevy Tahoe, about one-mile north of Interstate 80, at around 12:25-p.m., after the SUV did a U-turn in an attempt to block the Bonneville using a rolling stop, according to authorities. The Bonneville caught fire, and state troopers who arrived on the scene put out the blaze.
Coenen died at the scene. He was not wearing a seat belt. His body was sent to the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Ankeny, for autopsy. The Patrol says Brian Rink was also not wearing a seat belt. He was transported by private vehicle to the Cass County Memorial Hospital in Atlantic. Kent Liebe was wearing a seat belt. He was transported by Avoca Rescue to Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha. A report on both officers’ conditions, was not available.
Highway 59 was closed for more than two hours as the crash was investigated. It reopened at about 2:30 p.m. Assisting at the scene, was Avoca Fire and Rescue, Harlan Fire and Walnut Fire and Rescue.