An Iowa man was arrested early Friday morning after he allegedly crashed a vehicle with a missing 71-year-old man inside into the Mississippi River.
Joshua Scott Peters, 36, has been charged with vehicular homicide, death or personal injuries, first-degree theft, and driving on a barred license, all related to the death of William Talbot, who was found dead inside the submerged vehicle, KWQC reported.
The fatal incident began with a disturbance at about 11 p.m. on Thursday at the Fairport Recreation Area in Muscatine County. Deputies arrived on scene but were unable to find anyone connected with the incident.
An hour later, they were were called back to the scene, this time on a call of a stolen vehicle with a person inside. Talbot’s wife and daughter told deputies they were setting up their tent at the campground when someone stole their 2016 Chevrolet Equinox with Talbot, who has a disability, still inside.
The deputies quickly determined that the two calls were related.
Deputies soon received a call from a nearby homeowner who reported a soaking wet man at his home who said he was in a car crash and needed a ride to Davenport. The homeowner held the man — later identified as Peters — at gunpoint until deputies arrived.
Although Talbot’s wife and daughter initially told deputies they didn’t know who had stolen the car, investigators learned that the four of them — Peters and Talbots — had arrived together at the campsite at about 8 p.m. on Thursday, according to WQAD. Peters reported took methamphetamine about an hour after their arrival and at some point, got into an altercation with unidentified people in the area.
According to witnesses, a frantic Peters got into the Equinox and rapidly drove off, with Talbot inside, KWQC said. Witnesses said he drove erratically out of the campground, breaking, swerving, and accelerating as he headed west on the highway. But he abruptly did a U-turn and then sped off in the other direction.
Not far away, he lost control of the vehicle and drove into a ditch, but kept going, striking a road sign and eventually driving into the river. Peters escaped the vehicle, leaving Talbot behind. The vehicle and Talbot’s body were recovered Friday morning.
An arrest affidavit says that Peters failed a field sobriety test, showed multiple signs of impairment, and admitted to taking methamphetamine.
Peters appeared in court on Friday where he was given a $500,000 cash bond and ordered back for a preliminary hearing on May 2.
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[Featured image: Joshua Scott Peters/Muscatine County Jail]