Iowa City Schools driver who hit student and drove off will not be charged for hit-and-run

A sign outside of the central administration office for the Iowa City Community School District (Aaron Scheinblum/KCRG)
A sign outside of the central administration office for the Iowa City Community School District (Aaron Scheinblum/KCRG)(KCRG)
Published: Oct. 9, 2019 at 5:23 PM CDT
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Iowa City police spokesperson Denise Brotherton tells the I9 investigative team the driver who hit a student in a district-owned vehicle did not violate Iowa law for leaving the scene.

Police said the driver stopped initially after the crash but left after the 12-year-old student was helped to his feet by an unknown witness. Brotherton said a review by the Johnson County Attorney's office determined to leave the scene, in this case, did not violate Iowa law.

The driver, who police have not named, was cited for using an electronic communication device while driving.

The district has said it placed the driver on administrative leave the day after the incident.

I9 has learned there was a camera onboard the van that shows what happened leading up to the crash. Iowa City Schools has refused to release any records connected to the incident. District spokesperson Kristin Pedersen said the reason they will not turn over the records I9 requested, including the driver's name, is because Iowa City police asked the district not to until their investigation was finished.

Outgoing school board member Phil Hemingway said the video has been made available to board members. Hemingway said he has watched the video and that shows the driver was playing loud music and texting when the van hit the student.

"If you're operating a vehicle and you strike another person or another vehicle you instantly stop, put your four ways on, and render assistance," Hemingway said. "This was not done."

Hemingway said the driver did not get out of the vehicle to help the student and that another student can also be seen in the video that was on board at the time.

Johnson County Attorney Janet Lyness has not responded to questions concerning the identity of the driver.

I9 spoke with the mother of the student who was hit. The woman said her 12-year-old son suffered cuts to the leg and ankle from the collision but adds that he is doing okay.

The mother of the victim said she is frustrated with the lack of communication she has received from investigators, telling us she was not aware prosecutors were looking into the case and claims to have not heard from police since the day after the incident.

Brotherton said after they coordinated with the school district, she expected them to release the name of the driver on Wednesday. That has not yet happened.

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