Mason City Police Release Findings in Crash that Killed 5

June 26, 2017 07:55 AM

(ABC 6 News) - It was a moment that sent waves of grief coursing through an entire community, a split second that ended five lives and changed countless others forever.

On Monday, investigators released the findings from their investigation into a fatal crash in Mason City.


On April 10th, 2017 at 2:42 a.m. a Mason City police officer found a vehicle that had crashed and caught fire," Mason City Police Chief Jeff Brinkley said.

The officer was looking for the cause of a power outage.

"We do believe the lowest possible speed the vehicle was traveling at the time of the crash was 79 miles an hour," Chief Brinkley said.

The vehicle was driven by 20-year-old Zachary Hartley. The speed limit at that location is 30 miles an hour.

"The vehicle then left the roadway, striking guide wires for an electrical pole,” Chief Brinkley said. “The vehicle continued on the grass and then struck a tree. Hartley was operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol level in excess of the legal limit of .08. Upon coming to rest, the vehicle quickly caught fire.  The fire quickly spread into the passenger compartment.”

The crash killed driver Hartley, 17-year-old Donte Foster, 18-year-old Roderick Lewis, 14-year-old Sydney Alford and 19-year-old Alex Wiebke.

"I've been in law enforcement for 15 years, and that day, bar none, was probably one of my worst days in law enforcement," said MCPD investigator Jason Hugi.

And the families of the five young people who died that April morning had a message for the community:

"One, do not drink and drive,” Hugi said.  

“Number two, kids and adults alike, don't get into a vehicle with a drinking driver. Period. That message was pretty clear to us,” said Chief Brinkley. “Please don't let this tragedy be in vain. Think about the decisions that you make.”

No charges are expected in the case.


Dan Conradt

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