116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — A Coralville man who crashed into another vehicle which killed a Cedar Rapids woman in April 2020 faces up to 20 years in prison.
Bryce James Wagehoft, 32, pleaded guilty last week to vehicular homicide — recklessness — and being a habitual offender. He also made a written plea Monday to third-offense operating while intoxicated and two misdemeanors — driving while barred and possession of drug paraphernalia.
He was originally charged with vehicular homicide — under the influence of drugs — but that charge will be dismissed as part of the plea agreement.
Wagehoft faces 20 years in prison on the vehicular homicide charge as habitual and other charges. He must serve a mandatory minimum of three years before being eligible for parole. His driver’s license also be revoked for six years.
According to a criminal complaint, Wagehoft passed another vehicle about 5:37 p.m. on April 1, 2020, when he approached a hill where there was construction east of Atkins and crashed into an oncoming vehicle driven by Dawn Elaine Detweiler Stout, 43. Stout died at the scene.
Wagehoft was ejected and trapped beneath his vehicle, according to authorities. He was taken to a 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 Road in Palo.
A toxicology report showed amphetamines, marijuana metabolites and opiates in Wagehoft’s system at the time of the crash, according to the complaint. A Linn County sheriff’s deputy said Wagehoft admitted 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 stated. 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.”
The trial was postponed more than once because of the pandemic, and one delay was requested by the defense, according to court documents.
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 also pleaded guilty in writing Monday in a separate case to one charge of forgery, a felony. He faces up to five years on that charge. .
His sentencing in the vehicular homicide and forgery will be March 15 in Linn County District Court.
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This article has been corrected and updated.