116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — A Coralville man passed another vehicle last year when he approached a hill where construction was underway east of Atkins and crashed into an oncoming vehicle driven by a Cedar Rapids woman.
Bryce James Wagehoft was headed west when his car crashed head-on into an eastbound vehicle driven by Dawn Elaine Detweiler Stout, 43, at 5:37 p.m. April 1, 2020, according to a criminal complaint. Stout died at the scene.
Wagehoft, 32, was ejected and trapped beneath his vehicle, according to authorities. He was taken to a Cedar Rapids hospital along with his passengers, Wendie Beard, 23, of Vinton, and David Nelson, 33, of Palo. There was no information in the records on their injuries.
Crash data from Wagehoft’s vehicle showed he was driving 84 mph five seconds before impact. He didn’t brake until one second before impact, hitting Stout’s vehicle at about 71 mph, which was over the speed limit at 12001 Ellis Rd. in Palo.
A blood specimen taken from Wagehoft after the crash revealed he had amphetamines, marijuana metabolites and opiates in his system, according to the complaint. A Linn County sheriff’s deputy said Wagehoft admitted that he was a heroin addict and that he smoked methamphetamine the morning of the crash.
Investigators found two spoons, syringes and a pipe used to smoke drugs inside Wagehoft’s vehicle, the complaint said. The pipe smelled of marijuana, and a spoon tested positive for opiates.
His driver’s license was barred at the time of the crash, and he had two previous convictions for being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Stout, who was born and raised in Cedar Rapids, enjoyed being a mother of two, “giving her time and love to her children,” according to her obituary. She also “loved spending time with her family and friends, quilting and exploring nature and enjoying a quality glass of wine next to a warm fireplace.”
What’s happened since
Wagehoft was charged in June 2020 with vehicular homicide — under the influence of drugs; vehicular homicide — recklessness; third offense operating while intoxicated by drugs; driving while barred; and possession of drug paraphernalia.
He is accused in a complaint of “unintentionally” causing the death of Stout.
A judge set his bail at $50,000 cash that same month. After a bail review hearing, another judge lowered it but had concerns about Wagehoft’s previous convictions for driving under the influence and driving while barred. Wagehoft also had been on pretrial release on a forgery charge at the time of the crash.
Sixth Judicial District Judge Andrew Chappell agreed to lower his bail to $35,000, but left it as cash only. Wagehoft then pleaded not guilty but remained in jail pending a trial set to start Nov. 2, 2020.
That trial was postponed because of the pandemic. The Iowa Supreme Court had delayed all trials in March 2020, then briefly restarted them in mid-September before postponing them again in November. Jury trials didn’t start again until Feb. 1 of this year.
Wagehoft’s trial first was reset to Aug. 2, 2021. His lawyer, before that date in a case management report required by judges, said all the evidence had been reviewed and no depositions were necessary. Then, by agreement of defense and prosecution, the trial was reset to earlier this month.
The defense, in a September report, said depositions now were going to be taken this month. The judge then reset the trial to Jan. 11.
Online records show Wagehoft has a lengthy criminal history, mostly in Johnson County. He has been convicted of drug possession, thefts, domestic abuse assault, probation violations and filing false reports, in addition to the driving-related offenses.
Wagehoft remains in jail pending trial. If convicted of vehicular homicide and other charges, he faces up to 42 years in prison.
His forgery trial is set for Jan. 4 in Linn County District Court.
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