On 1/27/2017 at 3:52 p.m., The Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a two vehicle property damage accident that occurred in the 3400 block of 420th Avenue. Upon an investigation at the scene, it was determined that a 2012 Ford Focus, owned by Michael John Reynolds and driven by 17 yr. old Morgan Renee Stearns, was southbound in the 3400 block of 420th Avenue. As the Stearn’s operated vehicle was traveling southbound, it slowed due to a northbound vehicle losing control and entering the southbound lane of travel. As the Stearn’s operated vehicle slowed, a 1998 Ford Contour, owned and driven by Briana Jo Depue, age 19 of Laurens, was traveling south behind the Stearns vehicle. Unaware of the potential road hazard and the surface conditions of the roadway, the Depue vehicle made contact with the Stearn’s vehicle. The collision caused both vehicles to go out of control with the Depue vehicle ending up in the east ditch and the Stearn’s vehicle coming to rest in the middle of 420th Avenue. During the investigation, it was learned that a 15 yr. old passenger in the Stearn’s vehicle required medical attention. This 15 yr. old was transported to the Palo Alto County Hospital by the Palo Alto County Ambulance.
As a result of the investigation, Depue was cited for following too closely and for failure to prove vehicle liability (No Insurance, Accident related). The Stearn’s operated vehicle sustained an estimated $3000.00 worth of damages while the Depue vehicle sustained an estimated $2000.00 worth of damages. The Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office was assisted at the scene by the Iowa State Patrol, the Emmetsburg Fire and Rescue and the Palo Alto County Ambulance.
A criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.