CEDAR RAPIDS — Kennedy High School math teacher Rick Nees and his eldest daughter were killed in a car crash Thanksgiving Day while visiting family in Colorado, officials said.
They were running errands while in Fort Collins, north of Denver, when hit by the driver of a stolen pickup truck that earlier was used in a pawnshop burglary, news releases indicate.
“It is with a very heavy heart that I report to you that Rick Nees, long-time Math teacher at Kennedy High School, has passed away,” Kennedy High Principal Jason Kline wrote in an email to parents.
Details on memorial arrangements were not yet available, he said.
“This is very devastating news and I know we all will be hurting. Please know that we will have support resources available for staff and students on Monday starting at 7 AM,” Kline wrote. “This information will be very hard for many students to take and please know that we will be here for them. If your child has specific needs over the weekend please do not hesitate to email me.”
According to his profile on the LinkedIn businesses networking website, Nees had been a math teacher for more than 13 years at the school and had graduated from the University of Northern Iowa.
Fort Collins police said they received a call at 3:35 a.m. Thursday from a pawnshop there. Responding officers reported that a vehicle had rammed into the store to gain entry, and the burglar has stolen firearms.
A few hours later, police got a call about a suspicious vehicle that was carrying firearms. When police made contact with the man, he sped away in the pickup. Police said in a news release they did not chase him.
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But only a few minutes later, a crash involving at least two vehicles was reported. Police said two people died in the crash, but authorities said they were not releasing their names until relatives were contacted.
Authorities said they determined that the stolen pickup in the crash was the same used earlier in the smash-and-grab, and contained some of the stolen guns.
A suspect identified as Marcos Orozco, 19, was arrested and charged with second-degree burglary, vehicular eluding, aggravated motor vehicle theft and violation of bail bond conditions, in addition to charges in outstanding warrants, the Coloradoan newspaper reported.