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Iowa early News Headlines: Thursday, March 22nd 2017


March 23rd, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press at 3:40 a.m. CDT

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A bill that would set mandatory minimum prison sentences for repeat domestic abuse offenders in Iowa is drawing opposition from an unlikely source: one of the state’s largest advocacy organizations for victims. Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence is registered against the bill, which is expected for House debate Thursday. Director of Public Policy Laura Hessburg says increasing prison penalties can cause unintended harm _ such as perpetuating cycles of violence and racial inequality.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Court of Appeals says a Davenport man should get another trial because prosecutors removed the only two black people from the prospective jury pool violating a constitutional protection against removing jurors because of their race. Marquise Miller, who is black, was charged with eluding police and theft for allegedly helping two accomplices flee after shoplifting at a Dillard’s department store in Davenport in 2015.

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — A Waterloo police officer has been placed on administrative leave after she was arrested on suspicion of driving drunk and causing a crash. The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports that 32-year-old Diana Del Valle was arrested on suspicion of first-offense operating while intoxicated following a late-night March 16 collision on a Waterloo street while she was off-duty. Authorities say she hit a parked vehicle. She was also ticketed for failure to maintain control.

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — Officials say they didn’t have a hard tracking down a would-be marijuana dealer in Davenport. That’s because, they say, he received 10 pounds of the drug in the U.S. mail. Prosecutors say 25-year-old Charles Simpson has been charged with possession with intent to deliver, conspiracy to possess and deliver marijuana and failure to affix a drug tax stamp. The Quad-City Times reports that Simpson’s brother mailed him the marijuana to sell locally.

Train hits truck loaded with ice cream in Le Mars


March 22nd, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Large and small cartons of ice cream spilled out at a railroad crossing in Le Mars this morning (Wednesday) after a train struck the trailer of a semi. Le Mars fire chief, Dave Schipper (Shipper) says the truck owned and operated by Schuster Trucking was hauling a load of ice cream from Wells Enterprises.

“It was struck by a southbound C-N train here at 18th Street and what we call southbound Business Highway 75,” according to Schipper. “We did have one injury, minor, to the truck driver. He was transported to Floyd Valley Hospital.” The name of the truck driver has not been released. The accident happened at about 10:40 a-m and destroyed the trailer hauling the frozen desserts.

“We have ice cream strung out in the ditch here and parts and pieces of the trailer down the tracks for I’d say a good city block or a block and a half,” Schipper says. Firefighters had to wait for the power to be disconnected to one of the crossing signals that ended up under the semi trailer before they could clean up the spilled ice cream that was mostly contained to its packaging.

There was some diesel spilled from the truck. The fire chief says the lights and crossing arms were working at the time of the accident. He says it’s at least the third truck train accident at this intersection in the city in the last seven years.

(Radio Iowa)

IA man & NE woman arrested numerous charges in Council Bluffs


March 22nd, 2017 by Ric Hanson

A man from western Iowa and a woman from eastern Nebraska were arrested Tuesday evening on multiple charges in Council Bluffs, after Bluffs Police Officers were checking the parking lot of 3541 14th Ave and located a stolen vehicle. During their investigation, a room was located where the suspects were staying. One suspect, who was later identified as 43-year old David Wagner, of Carter Lake, fled from officers on foot and attempted to get into a vehicle that was waiting outside.

David Wagner

As officers were chasing him toward the waiting vehicle, the driver fled the area after noticing officers in foot pursuit. Wagner was tasered and taken into custody. He was charged with Theft 1st, Eluding and Interference with Official Acts.

The second subject (Later identified as 41-year old Ryan Deneveu, of Omaha) was unable to show proof of identification and the information she did provide was clearly false. The woman refused authorities entry into her hotel room and was detained. The room was search once a warrant was obtained, after which her true identity was determined. Deneveu had a valid warrant from Nebraska and was held as a Fugitive from Justice, along with local charges of Possession of Marijuana, False Information and Unlawful Possession of Prescription Drugs.

Ryan Deneveu

Evidence from the search warrant included drugs, cash and keys to the stolen vehicle. All items that were located were placed into property.

Senate panel OKs bill banning local minimum wage increases


March 22nd, 2017 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Senate committee has approved a bill that would ban local governments from raising the minimum hourly wage in Iowa, effectively causing pay cuts for some workers. The 9-6 vote Wednesday by the Senate State Government Committee means the bill is now available for debate in the full Republican-controlled chamber, where it has support.

The GOP-led House passed the bill this month. The pending vote in the Senate would be the final legislative action on the bill before it’s sent to Gov. Terry Branstad. The Republican governor has indicated he backs the legislation.

The bill would prohibit cities or counties from adopting or enforcing ordinances that raise the minimum hourly wage above the state level of $7.25. That would override wage increases approved in Polk, Johnson, Linn and Wapello counties.

Iowa GOP considers mandatory minimums for domestic abusers


March 22nd, 2017 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa House is considering a bill to establish mandatory minimum sentences for some people convicted of domestic abuse. The Republican-controlled House is expected to vote on the legislation Thursday. It would create mandatory minimums for some abuse, harassment and stalking convictions.

Individuals convicted of domestic abuse three or more times would be required to serve 20 percent of the maximum sentence before eligibility for parole. The bill also requires risk assessments for some individuals before release and expands GPS tracking. Supporters of the legislation say it would reassure abuse survivors.

Groups opposing the bill say lengthening prison sentences will only increase Iowa’s incarceration rate and not address roots of domestic violence. The House voted Monday in favor of sentencing reform for non-violent drug crimes to reduce prison crowding.

Trial set for northwest Iowa pair accused in boy’s beatings


March 22nd, 2017 by Ric Hanson

ORANGE CITY, Iowa (AP) – A July trial has been scheduled for a northwest Iowa man and wife who’ve been accused in the beatings of an 11-year-old. Court records show Matthew Spaans filed a written plea of not guilty Monday in Sioux County District Court to seven counts of child endangerment and seven of assault. His wife, 33-year-old Nina Spaans, already had pleaded not guilty to six counts of child endangerment and two of assault. Their trial is set to begin July 18. They live in Hawarden.

Records say that at least three times since September, Matthew Spaans beat his stepson with his hands, a 56-inch sword and another item, severely bruising the boy. The documents say the boy was told to make up stories about his bruises or his next beating would be worse.

I-80 on-off ramps to Hwy 173 in Cass County to be closed March 29th


March 22nd, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Transportation’s Creston Construction Office reports road construction work at the Interstate 80 and Iowa 173 interchange (exit 54) in Cass County, near Elk Horn, will require closing the ramps to traffic beginning 8 a.m. Wednesday, March 29th. The ramps will reopen the first week in May 2017, weather permitting.

Motorists will be detoured around the closure by traveling on Iowa 173 to Iowa 83 and then taking Cass County Road M-56 to I-80 (exit 51).

The Iowa DOT reminds motorists to drive with caution, obey the posted speed limit and other signs in the work area, and be aware that traffic fines for moving violations are at least double in work zones. As in all work zones, drivers should stay alert, allow ample space between vehicles, and wear seat belts.

Update: Sunday accident victim in Page County suffered “incapacitating injuries”


March 22nd, 2017 by Ric Hanson

In an update to our story on Monday, the Page County Sheriff’s Office today (Wednesday), released additional details with regard to a weekend, injury accident. Following completion of an investigation, authorities say 30-year old Alexander Lee Woodruff, of New Market, was driving a 2001 Ford Edge southbound on Highway 71 in Shambaugh, when the vehicle left the road on the east side of the highway, and flipped end-over-end. The accident happened just before 8-a.m., Sunday.

Woodruff was flown by LifeNet helicopter to an Omaha trauma center, for treatment of incapacitating injuries.  No citations have been issued at this time.

NE man and a transient arrested in connection w/Bluffs burglary


March 22nd, 2017 by Ric Hanson

A man from Nebraska and another man, who was said to be a transient, were arrested late Tuesday night in connection with a burglary. 47-year old Chris Miller, of Omaha, and 22-year old Joseph C. Smith, Jr., were both arrested and charged with Theft in the 2nd degree and Burglary in the 3rd degree. They were booked into the Pottawattamie County Jail.

The pair were arrested during an investigation into a garage burglary reported just after 11-p.m., Tuesday, in the 1600 block of 3rd Avenue, in Council Bluffs. Upon meeting with the victim of the burglary, officers were shown home surveillance video of the break‐in taking place, which recorded two male suspects and the vehicle they had been driving. While officers were still at the scene, completing reports, one of the suspects approached and asked what was going on.

Joseph C. Smith, Jr.

Chris Miller

An officer recognized him from the video and detained him for questioning. Other officers checked the surrounding neighborhood and were able to locate the vehicle that had been used in the burglary, a red Ford Ranger pick up. The bed of the truck contained several items that had been taken during the burglary. Officers contacted and arranged to meet with the owner of the Ford Ranger who advised Officers that his truck had been stolen.

The Officers recognized the Owner of the truck from the video as the other suspect in the burglary. He was also taken in for questioning by detectives. Over $3,000 in stolen property from the garage was recovered from the pickup and returned to the burglary victim.

Woman pleads guilty in Union County murder case


March 22nd, 2017 by Ric Hanson

CRESTON, Iowa (AP) – A 44-year-old woman has pleaded guilty to seven of eight charges filed against her in a Union County murder case. Court records say Jennifer Hartley changed her pleas last week to conspiracy, arson and other charges related to the September 2015 slaying of Loretta Dillinger by Dillinger’s former brother-in-law, Jerry Dillinger. Prosecutors say Hartley provided him a gun. Union County Attorney Tim Kenyon said Wednesday that he anticipates dropping the eighth charge – murder – after Hartley’s sentenced May 25.

Jerry Dillinger pleaded guilty in January 2016 to two counts of first-degree murder in the killings of Loretta Dillinger and Michael Robinson, who was in a relationship with a Dillinger family member.  Authorities say Jerry Dillinger killed himself in February 2016 at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Coralville.