Fairfield Ledger
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Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 20, 2017

Spalla to face homicide by vehicle charges

By Nicole Major, Ledger staff writer | Sep 15, 2017

The Jefferson County Attorney’s Office filed a Trial Information document Tuesday with the Iowa District Court, charging 21-year-old Maxwell Francis Spalla of Lockridge for the death of Jacob Aaron Nelson who lost his life in a motor vehicle accident March, 4.

Spalla is being charged with homicide by vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, which is a Class B felony, punishable by up to 25 years in prison. He is also being charged with homicide by a vehicle, reckless driving, which is a Class C felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

“The evidence showed us that a crime was committed -- so it was appropriate to file the charge,” said county attorney Timothy Dille, explaining that cases such as this one take time to process. “These things take a while. You have to interview witnesses, review autopsy reports and there are technical investigations that take place.”

Nelson, who was also 21 and from Lockridge, was one of two passengers in the vehicle that Spalla was driving when it crashed.

The other passenger, Brett Nicholas Scott, 21, of Fairfield, was taken by AirCare to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City for treatment of his injuries.

According to the Iowa State Patrol’s report, the driver of the vehicle lost control, causing the vehicle to leave the roadway, roll and come to rest on its top in the bottom of a ditch embankment on the north side of 110th Street.

Nelson was pronounced dead at the scene.

Agencies involved during the investigation include the Iowa State Patrol, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the Fairfield Police Department, Midwest Ambulance Service, The Brighton Fire Department and the Jefferson County Health Center.

“The trial information document we filed basically starts the procedure,” Dille said, explaining that Spalla was not arrested at the time of the accident.

“He has an appearance at 8:45 a.m. on Oct. 2,” Dille said.

A criminal charge is only an accusation, and defendants are presumed innocent until and if found guilty in a court of law.

For more information, contact Dille at 472-9201.

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