At 2:30 pm, a semi truck driving through Des Moines, Iowa, apparently ran a red light and struck a passenger car emerging from a local country club. Police report that as of September 21st, all four passengers from the vehicle had died.
The semi was being driven by 43-year-old Lockridge, Iowa, resident Kenneth Snow. The accident happened just past the intersection of Westown and Jordan Creek Parkways.
Lieutenant Jim Barrett of the West Des Moines Police reported, “The accident’s under investigation but right now we believe the driver of the semi ran the red light. Iowa Department of Transportation is assisting. They have to do an inspection of the tractor-trailer and again we’re reconstructing the accident. But right now it just appears to be a tragic accident.”
85-year-old Arlene Laughlin, who was driving, and passenger 85-year-old Frances Sechler were both pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, killed outright in the impact by all reports. The other two passengers were 83-year-old Marilyn Harper and 95-year-old Margaret Bannister; both were taken to local hospitals but died as a result of their injuries.
According to reports, the four victims were all long-time, close friends. They lived together at the assisted living community, The Lodge of Ashworth in West Des Moines. They were described as very good friends both with each other and with the community’s staff, other residents and visitors.
Jenise Rychniovsky serves as the Grief Counselor at The Lodge of Ashworth in West Des Moines, and said to reporters, “It’s been more of a blessing for me I think being here than what I’m doing for them… to hear how close they were and how much fun they had and hear funny stories.”
Police say that charges against Snow are currently pending, and that the investigation into the accident remains ongoing.