Vehicular homicide trial begins this week
The jury selection in the trial of Andrew Tyler Brock began earlier today. Once the jury is selected, the trial will commence immediately. The trial was originally scheduled for April 25. When defense and prosecution attorneys met Feb. 18, they agreed to move the trial up to March 1 because of a vacancy left by the postponement of another trial. Shortly thereafter, the trial date was moved again, this time to March 7.
Attorney Doug Tindal of Washington will defend Brock, while Assistant Attorney General Laura Roan will prosecute the state’s case. The two attorneys met Feb. 18 to discuss motions and the trial date. The trial of Rodney “Joe” Bean for involuntary manslaughter was originally scheduled for March 1, but that trial is now set for Sept. 12. District Court Judge Joel Yates suggested to Tindal and Roan that the trial be moved up in light of the opening.
Brock, 19, of Washington, is charged with three counts of vehicular homicide in connection to a three-vehicle collision in May 2009 in which three people died. Vehicular homicide is a Class C felony and can carry up to 10 years in prison.
The collision occurred at the intersection of Lexington Boulevard and Highway 92, about two miles west of the intersection of Highway 1 and G36. Brock is charged with causing the deaths of Samuel Langstaff, Jacqueline Langstaff and Travis Filben while “driving a motor vehicle in a reckless manner with willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.”
According to Iowa State Patrol reports, at about 2:30 p.m. on May 23, 2009, a Chevy pickup driven by Brock was northbound on Lexington Boulevard while a Mercury Mountaineer driven by Samuel Langstaff, 30, of Indianola, was eastbound on Highway 92. At that same time, a semi driven by Jared S. Freel, 26, of North Liberty, was westbound on Highway 92.
The report says Brock failed to stop at the stop sign and struck the vehicle driven by Langstaff in the passenger side, pushing it into the westbound lane. The semi then struck the Langstaff vehicle on the driver’s side. According to court documents, Langstaff’s vehicle rolled over and caught fire. Langstaff and passenger Jacqueline Langstaff, 29, of Indianola died from injuries suffered in the collision, including blunt force and thermal injuries, and were pronounced dead at the scene.
Brock; Spencer Miller, 15, of Washington; David Haifley, 16, of Washington; and Travis Filben, 19, of Keota were all transported to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City by Washington County Ambulance. Filben was later pronounced dead from blunt force injuries suffered in the collision.
According to an affidavit filed with Washington County Court, the Iowa State Patrol reports, “Andrew Brock was operating his pickup over the speed limit of 55 miles per hour.” The affidavit said Lexington is a gravel surface and the speed of the pickup was too fast in order to come to a complete stop at the stop sign. It says a “stop ahead” sign was in place and skid marks weren’t located until well after the sign.
For more, see our March 7 print edition.