Charging decision could come next week in fatal What Cheer pedestrian accident

15-year-old driving minivan, hit woman walking in street Sept. 2

Vanessa Miller

The Iowa State Patrol is planning to meet with the Keokuk County attorney next week to discuss its findings and possible charges in a fatal vehicle-pedestrian accident in What Cheer last month.

What Cheer resident Christine Smith, 36, died Sept. 2 after being hit by a minivan in the small Keokuk County community. Adam Gragg, 15, of What Cheer, was driving the van east on West Washington Street about 9:20 p.m. when he hit Smith, who was walking east in the street, according to the State Patrol.

Smith died from her injuries, and trooper Rob White said he’s going to meet with Keokuk County Attorney John Schroeder on Monday to go over his findings and to discuss possible charges in the case.

One Des Moines-based media outlet reported Wednesday that the State Patrol is recommending Gragg be charged with a license violation and not with leaving the scene of an accident, despite witness reports he didn’t stop and instead drove a few blocks to a fire station to get help.

White told The Gazette, however, that the State Patrol has had no charging discussions with Schroeder to date, and it’s premature to say what charges Gragg might or might not face.

In the end, White said, the charging decision lies solely with the county attorney.

“I am presenting the faces and our findings,” he said. “The county attorney decides what charges will be filed.”

White said it seems clear at this point that Gragg committed a license violation. But, he said, Schroeder could decide to file additional charges against the teen.

Schroeder on Thursday confirmed with The Gazette that he has received no formal recommendation from the State Patrol in connection with the case, and he’s planning to meet with investigators next week.

“I have gotten the investigative material from the officer this week,” Schroeder said, “and I will review it this weekend and will be discussing it with the officer next week.”

Schrodeder said he hopes to come to a charging decision by the end of next week.

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