Washington man charged with homicide by vehicle in fatal Iowa City crash

Iowa City Police say a woman died in a crash where another driver ran a red light.
Published: Sep. 29, 2023 at 9:08 AM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - A Washington, Iowa man has been charged with Homicide by Vehicle for a crash that resulted in the death of a Wellman woman in Iowa City in August, Iowa City police confirmed this week.

Court documents filed on Wednesday say 24-year-old Drake Brezina was seen by traffic camera video holding his phone in front of his face when he ran a red light, hitting the broadside of another vehicle at around 1 p.m. on August 7.

The crash happened at the intersection of Highway 6 E and Boyrum Street in Iowa City.

Investigators said 30-year-old Kristina Pearson, of Wellman, was heading north on Boyrum Street when her vehicle was hit by Brezina’s truck.

Pearson’s vehicle then hit a third vehicle. Pearson was taken to the hospital, where she later died. A passenger in her vehicle was also taken to the hospital in serious condition. Court documents say the injured passenger had to be resuscitated during his time at the hospital.

The documents say traffic camera video from the area shows Brezina’s vehicle entered the intersection where the crash happened a full 15 seconds after the light turned red.

A search warrant was conducted to get Event Data Recorder information from Brezina’s vehicle, which officials say shows he had been driving 44 mph at the time of the crash. The posted speed limit in the area where the crash happened is 35 mph.

The court documents also say Brezina admitted to responding officers that he ran the red light because he was distracted and looked away from the road.

Police said they seized Brezina’s phone and extracted data showing he was sending and receiving messages over social media apps while near the site of the crash.

Brezina faces charges of Homicide by Vehicle - Reckless Driving and Serious Injury by Vehicle.