Police chief involved in accident

The Iowa State Patrol is investigating an accident involving a Fairfield police officer in which one person was injured.

A press release from Jefferson County Attorney Tim Dille indicated that the accident occurred at 11:25 a.m. Monday at the intersection of Fifth Street and Tyler Avenue in Fairfield. Dille said the officer involved was Fairfield Police Chief David Thomas, 48, who was driving a vehicle owned by the police department.

The person injured in the accident was Ethan Michael Lawson, 27. He was transported by ambulance to the Jefferson County Health Center, and then to Mercy Hospital in Iowa City.

His injuries were listed as “suspected serious/incapacitating,” on the Iowa State Patrol’s report.

According to the accident report released today by the Iowa State Patrol, Thomas was headed south on Fifth Street when he turned right onto West Tyler Avenue. He did not see that a man, Lawson, was lying on the traveled portion of West Tyler.

The report indicates that Thomas heard someone yell, and then noticed the person lying on the street, stating that Thomas’s car had just struck him.

“There was no damage or physical evidence located on unit 1 [Thomas’s vehicle], but the injured person stated that he had been struck by unit 1 while lying in the road,” the report read.

The accident report indicated that Lawson’s condition was “under the influence of drugs/meds,” and listed contributing circumstances as “in roadway improperly.”

Dille said his office has recused itself from the investigation to avoid the appearance of improperly influencing it.

Iowa State Patrol media contact Sgt. Nathan Ludwig confirmed today that his office was still investigating the matter.

Thus far, no citations have been issued in relation to the accident.