One dead, two injured after weekend crash near Reinbeck

A Grundy County woman is dead after a two-vehicle crash north of Reinbeck over the weekend.

The crash happened just after 5 p.m. Saturday along the 24,000 block of County Road T-55, approximately three miles northwest of Reinbeck.

According to a news release, Rhonda Palmer, 62, of Reinbeck, was traveling southbound when she struck a 2002 Ford Focus driven by Vernon Heerkes, 73, of Dike. Heerkes was also traveling south and was in the process of turning into a driveway when the crash occurred. Both vehicles ended up in the west ditch.

Sandra Heerkes, 69, of Dike, was a passenger in the Ford Focus and was transported to the Grundy County Memorial Hospital and then transported via air ambulance to Covenant Medical Center in Waterloo where she later died of her injuries.

Vernon Heerkes was taken from the scene via air ambulance to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City. Palmer was transported to Grundy County Memorial Hospital and then later transferred to UIHC, according to the release.

UIHC did not have any patient information on Palmer or Vernon Heerkes as of Monday afternoon.

Rick Penning, Grundy County sheriff, said the accident remains under investigation and the case has been turned over to the Iowa State Patrol because of a conflict of interest.

“We have had the Iowa State Patrol do a technical accident investigation,” he said. “The lady that died is the mother of one of our deputies, so the case has been turned over to them.”

Penning said it could be several weeks before any charges are filed and he declined to comment if there were any other factors in the crash.