BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – The Lee County Sheriff’s office says driver fatigue may have been to blame in the cause of an accident Thursday afternoon on the Hwy. 61 bypass.
The mishap occurred at approximately 4:46 p.m. when emergency crews were dispatched to mile marker 18 on the bypass, about one mile north of the city’s west on ramp.
The nature of the incident was a car accident where two cars had collided and multiple injuries were reported.
When deputies arrived at the scene, they found a vehicle that had been driven by Kendrick Seville of Keokuk, Iowa, in the northbound lanes of Highway 61 facing north, but torn nearly in two pieces. Seville was with his wife Rutchel Seville and their two minor children. All the occupants of this vehicle were injured. One child was ejected from the vehicle and suffered major injuries. All of the Sevilles were seat belted and/ or in child safety restraint seats.
The second vehicle was driven by George “Tony” Sargent of Keokuk, Iowa. Sargent was traveling north on US Highway 61 with four minor children in his vehicle when the southbound vehicle driven by Seville struck the bridge railing and caused it to go airborne coming to rest in and striking thei the side of the vehicle driven by Sargent, causing moderate damage to the driver’s side of his vehicle. No injuries were reported from any of the occupants in Sargent’s vehicle.
All the Seville family members were treated at the scene by Lee County EMS and Montrose Fire and Rescue. All were transported to the FMCH for injuries and one child was later transported to the University of Iowa Hospitals for injuries suffered from the crash and ejection.
The cause of the accident was determined to be that Mr. Seville had fallen asleep and drove into the median and lost control of his vehicle, a Honda Pilot, resulting in the crash. Seville will be cited for failure to maintain control of his vehicle at a later date.
“It needs noted that Law Enforcement and Emergency Responders were assisted on the scene by many good Samaritans and Mr. Sargent and his passengers. Their assistance at such a traumatic scene is appreciated,” Lee County Sheriff Stacy Weber wrote in a release this morning.
The deputies were assisted at the scene by the Iowa State Patrol, Iowa DOT, Montrose Fire and Rescue, Lee County EMS, Fort Madison Police Department, Iowa DNR and LeeComm Dispatchers.
Due to federal privacy guidelines, condition reports on the injured will not be available.