Home News Wednesday News, November 11th

Wednesday News, November 11th


Roll-Over Accident Leads To A Fatality

(Le Mars) — Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office has updated some information regarding yesterday’s roll-over accident that happened on the northbound lanes of Highway 75 near mile marker 119 between Highway 3 and Fedder’s R-V and Marine. The accident was reported at about 9:05 a.m. Three people were
injured during the rollover accident. Two suffered minor injuries, but the third victim was killed during the accident. Preliminary results of the investigation show that the single vehicle was traveling north on Highway 75, when the driver hit ice and snow and lost control of the vehicle and entered the east ditch. The vehicle rolled several times before coming to rest along a DOT fence line. One of the passengers was ejected from the vehicle and later died at Floyd Valley Healthcare in Le Mars. The driver, Carlos Gomez and his front seat passenger, Antonio Higveron Lonjinos, both from Omaha, were treated and released from the hospital. Pronounced dead at the hospital was the back seat passenger, a Hispanic male age 27, from Bellevue, Nebraska.
Authorities are not releasing the name of the dead victim pending the notification of family members. The accident is still under investigation by the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office and the Le Mars Police Department.
Officers were assisted by the Le Mars Ambulance Service, Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department, Plymouth County Medical Examiner, Dr. Sheila Holcomb, and the Iowa D-O-T.




State Auditor Releases Report On Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office

(Des Moines) — State Auditor, Rob Sand, released a report yesterday on a special investigation of the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office for the period of April 1, 2015 through April 15, 2020. The special investigation was conducted as a result of concerns regarding the integrity of the Sheriff’s Office evidence inventory. The special investigation was conducted in cooperation with the Division of Criminal Investigation. Sand reported comparisons of the types and quantities of seized property recorded in the evidence log and/or case files to property maintained in the evidence inventory identified several concerns, including:

•Six instances for which the quantities of items listed in the
evidence log and/or case files did not agree with the evidence inventory. Specifically, 49 pills that were not maintained in evidence.
•Five evidence bags that had been tampered with; however,
descriptions in the corresponding evidence log entries and/or case files did not provide sufficient detail to determine what property, if any, was no longer in the evidence inventory.
•18 instances where the information maintained by the Sheriff’s
Office did not contain sufficient information to determine the completeness of items held in evidence.

Sand also reported evidence bags seized from the personal property of a former Deputy by DCI agents were not included in the testing performed. In addition, sufficient controls were not in place to ensure the integrity of the evidence room. Specifically, the lock on the evidence room door did not consistently function properly which allowed access to the room even when locked and independent comparisons of the items recorded and maintained in inventory were not performed.

Sand also reported it was not possible to determine if all Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) collections were properly deposited because adequate supporting documentation was not available.

The report includes recommendations to the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office to strengthen controls surrounding seized and forfeited property and evidence, including ensuring access is properly restricted and improving documentation details of the related case files and evidence log sheets.

Copies of this report have been filed with the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office, the Division of Criminal Investigation, the Plymouth County Attorney Office, and the Attorney General’s Office. A copy of the report is available for review on the State Auditor’s web site at




Governor Reynolds Issues Additional Restrictions To Suppress The Spread Of COVID-19

(Des Moines) — Governor Kim Reynolds has issued new restrictions in order to attempt to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases in Iowa. Reynolds held a news conference Tuesday morning to address the severity of the on-going spreading
coronavirus. She says that on Monday, 1,131 Iowans were hospitalized with the COVID-19 virus. Of that number 89 percent were of the age of 50 and over. Patients that were hospitalized with specific COVID-19 symptoms and conditions accounted for about 15.2 percent of the total state’s hospital census, and patients that tested for COVID-19, but were in the hospital for
other health related conditions account for nearly 21 percent of the state’s hospitalizations.

Reynolds says the trends cannot continue as they have, and changes need to occur, and all Iowans need to do what we can to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Reynolds has extended the emergency proclamation for an additional 30 days, and is now calling for additional preventive measures.

The governor then informed the media and the general public of the new restrictions that took effect at midnight.

Reynolds continues to read the new measures to help slow down the rate of positive cases of COVID-19 and how they will impact school activities, and restaurants, bars, and nightclubs.

Governor Reynolds is extending the provisions to recreational activities, and is also asking businesses to see if additional workforce can conduct the work from home.




Floyd Valley Healthcare Issues Statement Regarding Increasing Number Of COVID-19 Patients

(Le Mars) — Floyd Valley Healthcare officials have issued a statement regarding the increase of positive cases due to the spread of the coronavirus.
Lorrie Mortensen, Director of Patient Care, says “Floyd Valley Healthcare, as well as a majority of the hospitals in our region, continues to operate at a higher capacity due to COVID and other seasonal illnesses. Now, as much as any time in our history, we are here to serve our communities with whatever
health concerns they may have. In addition to successfully treating many COVID patients, we continue to safely deliver newborns, perform needed surgeries and see patients with chronic health issues.”




Arrests Made In Fort Dodge Double-Fatal Shooting

(Fort Dodge, IA) — Police have made arrests stemming from a June shooting in Fort Dodge that left two dead and two others injured. Three of the five men wanted in conjunction with the shooting have been arrested, two others remain at large. The three that have been arrested are 55-year-old Michael J.
Shivers of Eagle Grove, 35-year-old Jamal C. Davis and 23-year-old Darell L. Jones both of Fort Dodge. The two still at large are 33-year-old Michael J. Wells and 22-year-old Jeremiah R. Hatten, both of Fort Dodge. All five of the suspects have been charged with two counts of second-degree murder.




Iowa Jury Trial Put On Hold Due To COVID-19

(Des Moines, IA) — The Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court has ordered a pause in jury trials as cases of COVID-19 are up. Jury trials were suspended in March after the outbreaks started — and then began again in September after a couple of pilot trials to test coronavirus precautions recommended by a committee put together to study the issue. The Chief Justice
now says jury trials will be on hold until at least February 1st. That is for any trial that has not sworn in a jury by November 16th. The order also grants extended deadlines for prosecutors to bring cases to trial under Iowa’s speedy trial rules and suspends all grand jury proceedings until February as well.




Migrating Birds Die When Mistaking Wet Pavement For Body Of Water

(Des Moines, IA) — The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says a weather phenomenon led to the death of several migrating birds in northwest Iowa.
State waterfowl biologist, Orrin Jones, says the birds ran into trouble after flying into a weather system in Iowa. He says the birds would have left the Dakotas at sunset Monday and then entered into a frontal system in Iowa. He says once the birds hit the weather system they decided to land and then
mistook wet pavement for a body of water. Jones says it was just a bad combination of weather and the area where they landed. State Conservation Officer Steve Griebel, of Woodbury County, says he started getting phone calls and text messages about ducks on the road around 9:30 p-m Monday. He
found more than 200 ducks dead along Highway 20 near Highway 71.




COVID-19 Vaccine Is Being Tested At University Of Iowa Hospitals And Clinics

(Iowa City) — Drug maker Pfizer says early results of its COVID-19 vaccine trial show it’s more than 90-percent effective, but University of Iowa experts say it could be awhile before it’s widely distributed. Carver College of Medicine executive dean Pat Winokur says the F-D-A likely won’t approve the vaccine for emergency use until at least December.

The ongoing national trial consists of 44-thousand participants, including 270 people enrolled through the U-I. Winokur, who oversees the Iowa City trial, says while the early results are promising, it will likely be several weeks before we’re rolling up our sleeves, as Pfizer still needs to submit its final safety data to the F-D-A.

The Iowa Department of Public Health along with local public health departments are working on vaccine distribution plans. Winokur says health officials need to determine who gets priority for the vaccine as it will take awhile for the company to ramp up production.