HAMILTON COUNTY, Iowa – Two people were life-flighted to Des Moines hospitals Monday night after a chase topping more than 100 miles per hour ended in a crash in Hamilton County.
The pursuit began around 8:00 p.m. on Highway 20, a few miles east of Owasa, when Iowa State Patrol troopers tried to pull over a Toyota Camry going 90 mph in a 65 mph zone, said Sgt. Alex Dinkla with the Iowa State Patrol. The car, driven by 26-year-old Viliami Wight, fled eastbound and took Exit 181 but made a U-turn on the ramp, around two cars, and then went west in the eastbound lanes, almost hitting a vehicle head-on.
After a short time going the wrong way, Wight crossed the median using a turnaround and headed west in the westbound lanes. Sgt. Dinkla said Wight turned off the car’s headlights and continued to try to get away from police at speeds over 100 mph. A Hardin County Sheriff’s deputy tried to stop his vehicle using spike strips at the 162-mile marker but Wight avoided them.
Another set of spike strips was deployed at the 155-mile marker and Wight saw the flashing lights ahead and tried to slow to use another turnaround, but was going too fast. The car missed the turnaround and entered the median then turned to enter traffic eastbound. The car was traveling too fast to make a sharp enough turn and was struck by an eastbound semi-truck. The truck driver tried to avoid it by hitting the brakes and swerving but the car was struck in the right rear passenger door and trunk compartment.
Sgt. Dinkla said Wight and his passenger, 52-year-old Laurie Henke, were critically injured in the crash. They were first transported to Van Diest Hospital in Webster City and then taken by air ambulance to MercyOne Medical Center for treatment.
Both Wight and Henke are from Auburn, Washington.
The driver of the semi-truck was not injured.
The Hardin and Hamilton County sheriff’s offices assisted the ISP. The investigation into the crash continues.