66-year-old man was driver in Iowa Wal-Mart store crash

AP News
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Posted: Dec 02, 2016 6:44 PM

PELLA, Iowa (AP) — A 66-year-old southern Iowa man was identified as the driver of a pickup truck that crashed into a southeast Iowa Wal-Mart, killing three and injuring himself and another man in what officials believe was an accident.

Witnesses have said the driver, Dennis Mockenhaupt, of Knoxville, Iowa, plowed through a glass front entrance of the Pella store at a high rate of speed. The truck was traveling fast enough to break through concrete posts intended to protect the entrance from vehicles, well into the grocery portion of the store before coming to a rest after hitting a refrigerated produce display.

Those killed in the Thursday morning crash were Carrie Zugg, 31, of Leighton, and Lindsey Rietveld, 29, of Bussey — both employees of the Pella store — and Ruth Jean DeJong, 76, of Pella, a shopper, officials said. DeJong's 77-year-old husband, Robert DeJong, was injured in the crash and remained hospitalized Friday. Officials did not release his medical condition.

The only other person injured was Mockenhaupt, whom authorities said had been released from the hospital by Friday. A woman who answered his home phone Friday afternoon hung up when reached by The Associated Press.

A search of online court records showed no traffic violations against Mockenhaupt in recent years.

Officials declined to comment on whether a medical condition or some other issue caused the crash Friday, citing the ongoing investigation. But State Patrol Sgt. Nathan Ludwig reiterated that investigators have no reason to believe it was anything other than an accident.

"Anything's possible at this time," Ludwig said when asked if charges against Mockenhaupt are possible. "That's why this investigation might take some time."

Toxicology reports have been ordered for Mockenhaupt, officials said, but it could take weeks for the results to be returned.

Autopsies on those killed will be conducted next week by the state medical examiner in Ankeny, Iowa, officials said.