Charges Filed Against Teen Driver in Fatal Collision

By Vanessa Miller, Reporter

WHAT CHEER, Iowa - The Keokuk County Attorney's Office has filed a pair of charges against a 15-year-old driver accused in a fatal vehicle-pedestrian accident in What Cheer in September.

Adam Gragg, who turns 16 on Thursday, faces charges of violating the conditions of a minor school license and leaving the scene of an accident.

The license violation was filed Oct. 31, according to online court records. Keokuk County Attorney John Schroeder said he filed a delinquency complaint for leaving the scene of an accident on Oct. 25, but the complaint is still working its way through the juvenile court system.

A juvenile court officer meets with the juvenile and his parents before referring a juvenile petition back to the county attorney. Schroeder said he hasn't yet received a petition on the leaving the scene of an accident complaint.

The adult equivalent of the charge would be a class D felony, punishable by a prison term of up to five years.

"He doesn't face a five-year prison term because he's a juvenile," Schroeder said. "But there is a wide variety of things that could occur."

The charges stem from an accident on Sept. 2 that killed What Cheer woman Christine Smith, 36, in the small Keokuk County community. Gragg was driving a minivan east on West Washington Street about 9:20 p.m. when authorities say he hit Smith, who was walking east in the street.

Witnesses reported that Gragg didn't stop and instead stopped the van after hitting Smith, and instead drove a few blocks to a fire station to get help, according to the Iowa State Patrol. A Des Moines-based media outlet in October reported that the State Patrol recommended against charging Gragg with leaving the scene of an accident.

But authorities denied that and said they hadn't yet met to discuss possible charges.
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