CHARLES CITY – Floyd County Sheriff Rick Lynch today confirmed that an investigation has concluded after a woman was injured by a vehicle driven by a Charles City fire chief, and a citation has been issued.
The investigation revolved around a car-pedestrian incident in Charles City on March 17 at about 1:14 PM at the corner of North Main Street and Clark Street. A 2010 Dodge Charger driven by 36-year-old Charles City Fire Chief Eric Whipple was southbound (not responding to an emergency) on North Main Street and turned left onto Clark Street when he struck 86-year-old Gladys Kellogg of Charles City who was walking northbound. She was injured and transported to a Charles City hospital before she was later taken to St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota. She has been released from the hospital and is recovering.
The accident and ensuing investigation led to a controversy over how the matter should be investigated. Charles City officials asked the Floyd County Sheriff’s Office to take over the investigation to avoid the appearance of impropriety, which Sheriff Rick Lynch agreed to do so.
“Well first off I’m a professional friend with Eric and respect what he does and who he is, but we have never been out socially off duty,” Sheriff Lynch explained. “Now just to inform you when a Trooper Is involved in an accident the Troopers investigate it. At a local level you have people who just want to judge without knowledge or experience in the job like the professionals have. Yes the CCPD could of handled this, but thought, I’m assuming, it would be a better idea that FCSO comes in and assist.”
Sheriff Lynch said today that at the accident scene, his investigators took photos, measurements and obtained statements from witnesses, two of which were from out of state. They also searched for any possible video evidence, but found none. They also obtained cell phone records from chief Whipple’s cell phone provider to determine whether he was using his phone at the time of the collision. The cell phone company complied, and they indicated that there was no cell phone activity at the time of the accident.
After consulting with Floyd County Prosecutor Rachel Gibney, it was determined that the appropriate charge would be Failure to Yield to a Pedestrian Within an Intersection. Chief Whipple was issued that citation today and has a court date set for May 8, 2015.