Officer Told Teens to Keep Music Quiet Just Before Fatal Crash

By Mark Geary, Reporter

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By Kelli Sutterman

Fatal Cedar Rapids Crash
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – When police responded to an early morning fatal crash Monday morning, it wasn’t the first time officers had spoke to the teenagers inside that car.

About an hour before the crash, police spoke to the teens after someone complained they were playing their music too loudly.

17-year-old Jose Mendoza lost his life when the car he was riding in flipped over.

Cedar Rapids police came to a parking lot on the Southeast side and spoke to the four teenagers who crashed a car about an hour later. Someone filed a noise complaint and that’s why an officer responded, but police won’t say anything more about what else happened.

“Until everything is all brought together, the department is pretty guarded with what we’re releasing in regards to that,” Sergeant Cristy Hamblin said.

Police say every situation is different and they don’t always search a vehicle or write a ticket every time they come in contact with teenagers doing something wrong.

“Part of it depends on the kids and what the officer hears when they pull up, what they say when they pull up and the kids’ demeanor,” Hamblin said.

The city does have a curfew in place, but it doesn’t apply to people over 16 years old. If the curfew included 17-year-olds, the teens may have not been on the road at the time of the accident.

But, police say changing the curfew is best left up to the community.

“A lot of times, it has to be a grassroots kind of thing. Parents have to step up and say, ‘Enough is enough. Anybody under 18, you have to be home at a certain time,” Hamblin said.

Much uncertainty about this deadly crash remains and probably won’t clear up until authorities complete the investigation.

Cedar Rapids police say more information about the investigation will be available within the next week.

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