Texting teen slams into pickup on County Home Road

Drivers of both vehicles taken to hospital for treatment

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Authorities said a teenage boy was texting when his car crashed into a pickup Tuesday afternoon in Linn County.

According to the sheriff's office, a car was westbound on County Home Road at highway speeds around 3:45 p.m. when it rear-ended a pickup that had stopped to turn south onto North Mentzer Road. Both vehicles sustained heavy damage.

The driver of the car, 16-year-old Alex D. Holverson, of Toddville, was transported to St. Luke's Hospital in Cedar Rapids with possible life-threatening injuries, authorities said. The other driver, Kathleen Hartl, 58, of Central City, was taken to the same hospital, for non-life threatening injuries. She was not listed as a patient at the hospital Wednesday morning, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Both drivers were wearing seat belts, and no other passengers were in either vehicle, authorities said.

Sheriff Brian Gardner said Holverson has serious injuries but is expected to survive. He said investigators found a device in the car Holverson was driving and "it was apparent" that he had been texting before the crash.

Holverson was later cited for failing to stop in an assured clear distance and use of an electronic communication device while driving. Gardner said his department has issued only a few citations for texting while driving since police in Iowa were authorized to issue those citations last summer.

Texting while driving makes a driver 23 times more likely to crash, according to a study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.

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