Public Safety

Trial on track in 2016 crash that killed two teens

Keith Furne
Keith Furne

CEDAR RAPIDS — The trial of a man charged with vehicular homicide in a crash that killed two teens in 2016 is on schedule to begin April 10.

Keith Furne, 35, is charged with reckless driving resulting in serious injury and two counts of homicide by vehicle.

A judge ruled last year to move the trial to Story County based on extensive pretrial publicity and because this case helped the push for a new law to ban texting while driving.

Judge Fae Hoover-Grinde of the 6th Judicial District, during a case management conference Monday, confirmed with Furne’s lawyer and a prosecutor that the trial is set to start April 10 in Story County District Court. The trial is expected to last two weeks.

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Furne was texting Nov. 3, 2016, when he crashed into the back of a Chevrolet Aveo driven by Jennifer Perez of Belle Plaine, according to the criminal complaint. Perez was stopped on County Home Road, waiting to turn left onto North Troy Road.

Her children were passengers — Selena Apodaca, 16; Elysia Severson, 14; Isabella Severson, 13; and a 4-year-old. The crash killed Selena and Isabella, and seriously injured Perez, Elysia and the 4-year-old.

Furne, who was driving a Chevrolet Silverado pickup, wasn’t injured and admitted to investigators he was texting before he hit Perez’s car, according to the complaint.

Data from Furne’s cellphone also showed he had been sending and receiving text messages before the crash, according to the complaint, and he was drafting another text when the crash occurred.

If convicted, Furene faces up to 25 years in prison. He is free on bond.

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