Seizure causes man to crash into insurance office

A medical emergency caused a man driving on Center Street to collide with an SUV heading the opposite direction before careening into a nearby building Monday afternoon.

Capt. Mike Hanken, with the Marshalltown Police Department, said the driver of a Pontiac Grand Am lost control of his car after he began having a seizure and struck an oncoming Chevy Blazer at the intersection of Southridge Road and Center Street just after 1 p.m.

The driver, who Hanken said is in his late teens to early 20s, went over the median while heading south on Center Street before striking the oncoming Blazer. The driver then veered off onto East Southridge Road, driving along the sidewalk until he smashed his car into the side of State Farm, 8 E. Southridge Road.

“All things being equal it was pretty lucky we didn’t have very serious injuries,” Hanken said. “Very lucky.”

Although Marshalltown Area Paramedic Services and Fire Department were on scene, Hanken said paramedics transported the driver to Marshalltown Medical & Surgical Center for the seizure not for injuries he suffered during the crash. No one else at the scene needed medical attention.

Police have yet to determine how fast the man was traveling at the time of the crash, but damage to the building was minimal. Hanken said the damage to the vehicles likely totaled more than $10,000.

Hanken said there was no evidence that the driver had been using drugs or under the influence of alcohol and was unaware whether he was wearing a medical bracelet that would indicate he is epileptic. No charges were filed as of Monday, but Hanken said police might file charges depending on the results of medical tests.

Antonio Banderas, a State Farm employee, said he saw the crash. He and his wife were driving beside the man at the time of the episode.

“I looked over, and he’s shaking. I said to my wife ‘that guy is having a seizure’,” he said. “Then he jumps over the median and hits that red Blazer he looked pretty dazed when he came to.”