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Driver Delays Road Project by Driving on Wet Concrete

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JACKSON COUNTY, Iowa- A Jackson County road project hit an unexpected snag last Friday when authorities say a driver deliberately drove a truck over more than a quarter mile of still-wet concrete.

The incident happened on Centerville Road on the west edge of the small community of St. Donatus. Contractors had just poured concrete as part of a $1.2-million dollar road project when the vandalism occurred. Before the expensive, and extensive damage, the paved road was set to open at the end of the week.

Clark Schloz, Jackson County engineer, said the type of repair needed will depend on what the Iowa Department of Transportation recommends. But some of the now-hardened ruts are three to four inches deep. Some barely went below the surface. Schloz said the repair estimate he's given investigators is $90,000 to $250,000.

Law enforcement officers said witnesses saw the driver ignore the "road closed" signs and drive on the still-unhardened surface. Officers won't identify the driver yet but say the suspect worked for Perfection Concrete. A manager at the company declined any comment on Monday.

Schloz said the truck either damaged or ruined about 2,200 feet of the roadway and there was no way it was an accident.

"He had to know he was driving on fresh concrete, he had to know that," Schloz said.

One resident who lives along the road, Kelly Thoma, was even more blunt.

"What kind of brain-damaged idiot did something like that,"Thoma asked.

The investigator working the case said he still has interviews to do but could determine any criminal charges by mid week. The most likely charge would be first degree criminal mischief. That charge reflects vandalism doing more than $10,000 in damages.

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