Iowa State Patrol to Reopen Fatal I-80 Accident Inquiry

By John Mangalonzo

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By Becky Ogann

GRINNELL, Iowa - The Iowa State Patrol is reopening its investigation of an Aug. 15 accident on Interstate 80 near Grinnell after learning of the death Sunday of a Burlington woman who was a passenger in one of the vehicles.

Melissa A. Standard died at Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines of injuries she sustained in the collision. She was a Burlington School District special education associate teacher scheduled to begin work at the new Aldo Leopold Middle School.

Standard was 49.

Sgt. Scott Bright of the state patrol said Tuesday that charges against the driver of the other vehicle, Vance O. Faulkner, 60, of Cedar Rapids are pending investigators' evaluation.

''Investigators are going to open it back up," Bright said. "Usually, when something like this happens, somebody dies later, they have to go back through the investigation and see."

Bright said with Standard's death, "that's going to change this whole situation."

State patrol investigation indicated Faulkner was driving a pickup pulling a camper in the eastbound lanes of I-80 at 2:04 p.m., Aug. 15 when authorities said he lost control of the vehicle, which crossed the median into oncoming traffic.

The pickup and camper landed on its side and collided head-on with a Toyota SUV Standard was in heading west.

Faulkner, authorities said, was taken by air ambulance to a Des Moines hospital.

Standard, who was the front-seat passenger in the Toyota, along with the other occupants of the SUV, Sally A. Hingst, 48, and Barbara J. Hingst, 60, both of Iowa City, ended up at a Des Moines hospital from injuries related to the crash.

Traffic on Interstate 80 was interrupted for two hours.

The day after the incident, Mercy Hospital in Des Moines listed both Barbara Hingst and Faulkner in fair condition with what hospital officials described as non-life-threatening injuries.

Bright did not have information on the condition of Sally Hingst, Barbara Hingst or Faulkner.

Rosita Boley, who is close to the Standard family, facilitated a bake sale the weekend after the crash and raised money to help with medical bills.

She said there was supposed to be another meeting Tuesday night for another benefit in October. That meeting has been cancelled.

''I'm just heartbroken," Boley said. "I have not gotten the chance to talk to her girls, who both are spending time with their family."

Boley manages the local Taco Bell, where Standard's daughters, Molly and Emma, both work.

A memorial service for Standard is scheduled at 2 p.m. today at Lunning Chapel, 2620 Mount Pleasant St.

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