The Iowa State Patrol, Sunday, released more information about a multi-vehicle collision that took place Saturday morning on Interstate 80 in Cass County. There were two separate accident reports. Both collisions occurred at 10:12-a.m., at the 67-mile marker. The first accident resulted in one person being sent to the hospital.
The Patrol says one of the crashes happened as a 1999 Ford pickup driven by 69-year old Leroy C. Brown, of Leon, KS, was pulling a camper westbound on I-80. When Brown slowed for dense smoke blowing across the interstate from a field fire south of the interstate, his trailer was hit from behind by a 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix, driven by 19-year old Chyann Smith, of Storm Lake. A 2007 GMC box truck driven by 50-year old Christopher W. Henley, of Brandon, SD, was behind the Grand Prix and was hit by a 2011 International semi driven by 63-year old Thomas Maune, of St. Louis, MO.
The impact sent the GMC truck into the rear of the Grand Prix, which then spun across the median into the eastbound lanes of traffic and back into the median, before it came to rest. The GMC box truck then struck the pickup/camper, causing heavy damage to the camper/trailer. The pickup/Camper/trailer came to rest on the north shoulder of the road, with the trailer partially on the shoulder and partially in the north ditch. The box truck continued into the median and came to rest. Henley was transported by ambulance to the Cass County Memorial Hospital.
The Patrol says after the semi hit the box truck, it slowed and began to pull onto the shoulder, when a 2014 Ford motorhome and towing a vehicle, driven by 75-year old Donald Billings, of Sun City, CA, came upon the crash and swerved to avoid hitting the semi. The motorhome’s right rear side hit the left rear of the semi’s trailer. The impact caused the car-in-tow to break free from the motorhome, which crossed the median and came back into the westbound lanes before coming to rest on the shoulder.
At that point, a 2012 International semi driven by 22-year old John Merritt, of Martinsville, MO., collided with the vehicle that was being towed by the motorhome and the trailer of the 2011 semi. The towed vehicle was pinned to the front of the semi, causing extensive fire damage to the towed vehicle and the semi driven by Merritt. Both semis came to rest on the shoulder of the road, with Merritt’s rig partially blocking the traveled portion of the Interstate.
Westbound traffic was subsequently shut down for roughly 5 hours and detoured off the interstate, while the eastbound lanes were reopened after emergency vehicles left the scene.