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 Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, July 14, 2016, Page 1

Accident claims five lives
Two women, three children perish
in Goose Pond corner tragedy

A two-vehicle accident west of Mount Ayr claimed the lives of five people Friday, July 8.

According to the accident report from the Iowa State Patrol, at 10:43 a.m. a 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander driven by Renae Baker, 49, of Redding was northbound on County Highway P27 when it failed to stop at a stop sign at the intersection with State Highway 2 approximately four miles west of Mount Ayr. The intersection is known locally as Goose Pond corner.

As it crossed Highway 2, the Baker vehicle was hit broadside on the passenger side by a westbound Peterbilt gravel truck driven by Ted Zacharias, 28, of Atlantic, sending both vehicles into the northwest ditch. The unloaded truck registered to Stamp Construction of Atlantic landed on its side.

According to a conversation with Ringgold County sheriff Mike Sobotka, four individuals were declared deceased at the accident scene and transferred directly by ambulance to Watson-Armstrong Funeral Home in Mount Ayr. They included Baker and passengers Sydney King, 30, of Redding; Breanna Baker, 12, of Redding; and Elizabeth Lakey, 4, of Grant City, MO.

Hayden King, 2, of Redding was transported by ambulance to Ringgold County Hospital but succumbed to his injuries before he could be air lifted to Des Moines.

Willy Baker, 9, of Redding was transported by Mercy One air ambulance to Blank Children's Hospital in Des Moines where he was admitted in critical condition with a broken leg, punctured lung, cracked pelvis, broken ribs and head injuries. He currently is resting in a medically-induced coma.

Scarlette Lake, 18 months, of Grant City, MO was air-lifted to Blank Children's Hospita;l where she was kept overnight for observation before being released the next day.

Zacharias was uninjured in the accident.

All involved were wearing seatbelts or child protective restraints, according to Sobotka.

Officers with the Ringgold County Sheriff's Office, Ringgold County Anbulance Service, the Mount Ayr Fire Department, the Iowa State Patrol and a number of local individuals who came upon the scene responded to the accident.

Funeral services for Sydney and Hayden King were held Tuesday, July 12 at th Blockton Christian Church in Blockton with interment in the Rose Hill Cemetery in Blockton.

Funeral services for Renae and Breanna Baker were held Wednesday, July 13 at Crossroads Assembly of God Church in Grant City, MO with interment in the Kirk Cemetery, Allendale, MO.

Funeral services for Elizabeth Lakey were held Wednesday, July 13, at the Prugh-Dunfee Funeral Home in Grant City, MO with interment in the Kirk Cemetery, Allendale, MO.

  • Renea Marie (Crandall) Baker obituary

  • Breanna Faith Baker obituary

  • Elizabeth Taylor "ET" Lakey obituary

  • Sydney Nicole (Davis) King obituary

  • Hayden Alexander King obituary

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    Intersection has had other fatal crashes

    Two other fatal traffic accidents have occurrred at or neat the intersection of County Highway P27 and State Highway 2 over the past 45 years.

    On September 13, 1971, Jan Overholser, 18, of Maloy was a passenger in a vehicle driven by her husband, Eddi Overholser. The Overholser vehicle was northbound on P27 and crossing Highway 2 when it was struck by a vehicle westbound on Highway 2.

    On July 4, 1992, exactly 22 years prior to this week's accident, Garry Hamilton, 50, of rural Diagonal died as a result of a tractor-semi accident near the intersection.

    Hamilton, a former teacher in the Mount Ayr school system, was driving a farm tractor eastbound on Highway 2 when it was hit from behind by an eastbound semi trying to pass.

    Creston News-Advertiser
    Creston, Iowa
    Friday, July 08, 2016

    3 children, 2 adults die after Ringgold County accident Friday
    by Bailey Poolman

    BENTON — Five people of Redding and Grant City, Missouri, were reported dead after an accident 10:43 a.m. Friday at the intersection of Highway 2 and County Highway P-27 west of Benton in Ringgold County.

    According to an Iowa State Patrol report, Renea Baker, 49, of Redding, driving a 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander north on County Highway P-27, failed to stop at a stop sign and was struck by a 1993 Peterbilt utility vehicle driven west on Highway 2 by Ted Zacharias, 28, of Atlantic. Both vehicles ended up in the northwest corner of the ditch. Zacharias' vehicle, which was registered to Stamp Construction of Atlantic, landed on its side. Baker's vehicle was totaled.

    Elizabeth Taylor Lakey, 4, of Grant City, Missouri, and Hayden King, 2, of Redding died after the accident. They were transported by Ringgold County Hospital ambulance to Ringgold County Hospital in Mount Ayr.

    Breanna Baker, 12, of Redding died after the accident. She was transported to Blank Children's Hospital in Des Moines by Life Flight air ambulance.

    Renea Baker and Sydney N. King, 30, of Redding, died after the accident. They were transported to Watson-Armstrong Funeral Home in Mount Ayr by Ringgold County Hospital ambulance.

    Willie Baker, 9, of Redding was transported to Blank Children's Hospital by Mercy One air ambulance, where his condition is unknown at this time.

    A 1-year-old child, whose name has not been released, was treated at Ringgold County Hospital and released the next day. Zacharias was uninjured. Everyone wore seat belts. "You had patrols coming from a little ways away, you had sheriff's offices, you had fire departments," said Sergeant Nathan Ludwig, Iowa State Patrol public information officer. "They (first responders) responded as quick as they could, and multiple agencies had multiple responders there."

    It is unknown at this time why Renea Baker ran the stop sign. The accident is still under investigation.

    Ringgold County Sheriff's Office, Taylor County Sheriff's Office and Mount Ayr Fire Department also responded to the accident.

    Des Moines Register
    Des Moines, Iowa
    July 10, 2016

    Shock, sadness after 3 childre, 2 women die in south Iowa crash
    by Kelly McGowan

    MOUNT AYR, Ia. — Dan King waved from his truck when he passed his daughter, grandson and neighbors as he headed south on a county road west of Mount Ayr on Friday morning.

    The seven people in the northbound SUV all waved back.

    Five of them were killed moments later, in a crash at an intersection less than a mile away.

    Driver Renea Baker, 49, and Sydney King, 30, both of Redding, were killed along with Breanne Baker, 12, and Hayden King, 2, both of Redding, and Elizabeth Lakey, 4, of Grant City, Mo.

    The SUV was broadsided by a rock utility truck after the SUV did not stop at a stop sign at Iowa Highway 2 while going north on Ringgold County Road P27, according to the Iowa State Patrol. Willie Baker, 9, of Redding, was flown to Blank Children's Hospital in Des Moines in critical condition, and a 1-year-old passenger, whose name wasn't provided by authorities, was released from the Ringgold County Hospital late Friday.

    Willie and Breanne Baker are Renea Baker's children.

    Breanne had just finished fifth grade in the Creston Community School District, Superintendent Steve McDermott confirmed. Willie had just completed third grade in the district, where Renea Baker also had a ninth-grade son, who was not involved in the accident.

    The truck driver was not injured.

    "It's just hard to accept the fact that it happened," said Bill Stringham, who lives about a quarter of a mile west of the crash site. "In the blink of an eye, it's all over with."

    Stringham is a close friend of Dan King, and he said the community is pulling together to support the families. "It's really a disaster," he said. "It affects everyone."

    Renea Baker was the aunt of Sydney King, who was reportedly babysitting Elizabeth and the 1-year-old.

    "I guess the good Lord had a reason, or he wouldn't have done it," Dan King said.

    Sydney went to high school in Mount Ayr, then lived in La Crosse, Wis., for about eight years before moving back to Redding about 10 months ago to live with her adoptive father, Dan King. She was adopted around 1987, he said, when she was about 2.

    "She was real happy here," King said. "Sydney had friends here; people were always coming to visit. She was happy, and I was happy." He said Sydney was a beautiful girl and a good person who was protective of her son. As a mother, he said, she was the "best I ever saw." "That baby was her whole world," he said. "If you messed with that baby, you were in trouble."

    King shared a special connection with the "sweet little kid" Hayden, who was very interested in tractors. King leads the local tractor club. "I kept tellin' him, when you get out of diapers, you can come with old gramps," Dan King said.

    Mount Ayr resident Kim Scharfenkamp said the area is "shocked and saddened" by the crash. She is a second cousin to Renea Baker's husband, and said the tightknit community is reeling. "It's just heartbreaking," she said. "It touched everyone in the community."

    Scharfenkamp works at a nursing home where, she said, Renea Baker also worked before becoming a special education teacher at Creston Community High School.

    "I got the news that there had been a horrible accident," Scharfenkamp said. "Your heart just sinks when you see the Life Flight go out, because you know it'll be someone you know. ... They were really good people. It's terribly sad."

    Renea "cared very much for her own kids and the students she worked with at school," McDermott said in an email. "She was a good mom that did her best to provide for her family."

    Grief counseling is being offered by the Creston Community School District, and McDermott asked people to keep victims and families in their thoughts and prayers.

    Chief Deputy Rob Haley of the Ringgold County Sheriff's Department said that the intersection, locally known as Goose Pond Corner, is a dangerous one. He did not recall any fatal accidents there in his 17 years with the department but said others had died there before his start.

    Other area residents also voiced concern about the intersection, especially when westbound drivers surpass the 55 mph speed limit on Iowa Highway 2.

    "They pop over that hill so fast," said Richard Snethen, a longtime Redding resident. "It's always been awful."He said a flashing light and additional speed limit signs would help.

    Coming north on Ringgold County Road P27, there are rumble strips and a flagged "stop ahead" sign, but its placement near the crest of a hill directly east on Iowa Highway 2 can prove dangerous when drivers come over it, residents said.

    King said the truck driver was beside himself. "I know he felt bad, but it was not his fault," King said. "It just happened."

    The funerals for Sydney and Hayden King will be Tuesday in Blockton, Iowa. The funerals for Renea and Breanne Baker will be Wednesday in Grant City. No times were provided. Funeral arrangements were not immediately available for Elizabeth Lakey.

    Iowa Press-Citizen
    Iowa City, Iowa
    July 14, 2016

    Donations to aid families of 5 who died in Iowa crash

    A memorial fund has been set up to help families of two women and three children who were killed in a south Iowa crash last week.

    Donors can go to any Great Western Bank and give to the Redding United Methodist Church Baker-King-Lakey Memorial Fund, which church members set up to help cover funeral and medical expenses.

    Driver Renea Baker, 49, and Sydney King, 30, both of Redding, were killed July 8 along with Breanne Baker, 12, and Hayden King, 2, both of Redding, and Elizabeth Lakey, 4, of Grant City, Mo. The SUV they rode in was broadsided by a rock utility truck after the SUV did not stop at a stop sign at Iowa Highway 2 while going north on Ringgold County Road P27, according to the Iowa State Patrol.

    Shock, sadness after 3 children, 2 women die in south Iowa crash

    "It's just hard to accept the fact that it happened," Bill Stringham, who lives about a quarter of a mile west of the crash site, said earlier. "In the blink of an eye, it's all over with."

    Residents said the tight-knit communities in the area were deeply affected by the deaths.

    Willie Baker, 9, of Redding, was flown to Blank Children's Hospital in Des Moines in critical condition, and a 1-year-old passenger, whose name wasn't provided by authorities, was released from the Ringgold County Hospital late Friday.

    Breanne had just finished fifth grade in the Creston Community School District, where Renea, her mother, taught special education. Renea Baker was the aunt of Sydney King, who was reportedly babysitting Elizabeth and the 1-year-old.

    "I guess the good Lord had a reason, or he wouldn't have done it," Dan King, Sydney King’s father, said.

    There are 49 Great Western Bank locations across Iowa, which can be searched at greatwesternbank.com. Locations near the Des Moines metro area include:

  • Des Moines: 1347 E. Euclid Ave.
  • Altoona: 2770 Eighth St. S.W.
  • Ankeny: 2110 S.E. Delaware Ave.
  • Clive: 10101 University Ave. and 13150 Hickman Road
  • Carlisle: 120 School St. and 100 N First St.
  • West Des Moines: 120 S. 68th St.
  • Prairie City: 304 S. Commerce Drive
  • Ames: 316 S. Duff Ave.

    Locations near the crash site are:

  • Mount Ayr: 100 E. South St.
  • Grant City: 2 W. Fourth St.
  • Creston: 103 W. Taylor St.
  • Bedford: 508 Pollock St.

    Photograph courtesy of Mount Ayr Record-News
    Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, July of 2016


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