116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
The crash that killed Iowa State Patrol Trooper Ted Benda last month happened when Benda swerved to avoid a deer while responding to a call at high speed, Iowa State Patrol reported Friday.
Benda, 37, of rural Decorah, was driving south on Highway 51 north of Postville around 11:30 p.m. Oct. 14 when he swerved to avoid striking a deer that had entered the roadway from the west, the Iowa State Patrol said.
“Due to this evasive action, the Dodge Charger lost traction, entered into the east ditch, and struck an embankment on the driver’s side,” Sgt. Alex Dinkla said in an email to The Gazette. “The vehicle then rolled, coming to rest on the driver’s side.”
Benda was extricated from the damaged patrol care and airlifted to Gundersen Lutheran Hospital in La Crosse, Wis., where he was in critical condition for several days before he died Oct. 19.
Dinkla previously said Benda was driving at high speed, but the State Patrol still is conducting a technical investigation that would determine an estimated speed. Clayton County so far has not responded to questions about what type of call Benda was responding to when the crash occurred.
Hundreds of law enforcement officers attended Benda’s Oct. 27 funeral in Waukon, where Benda grew up and graduated from high school. Benda leaves behind his wife, Holly, and four daughters, Madilyn, 11; Avery, 8; Vivyan, 3; and Sylvia, a month old.
“The Iowa Department of Public Safety and the state of Iowa continue to support Trooper Benda’s wife Holly and their four children through this tragic event,” Dinkla said Friday.
Benda joined the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation in 2005, assigned to the Special Enforcement Operations Bureau in Marquette. He transferred to the State Patrol in 2016, initially assigned to District 8 in Mason City but most recently working out of the District 10 office in Oelwein.
Benda isn’t the first Iowa trooper to die in the line of duty this year. Sgt. Jim Smith was fatally shot in an April 9 standoff in Grundy County. Michael Thomas Lang has been charged with first-degree murder in that case and is scheduled for trial in June.
Comments: (319) 339-3157; firstname.lastname@example.org