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Vehicular homicide charge filed 37 months after crash

February 19, 2014
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Joseph Edward Starits, 26, of Toledo, was killed outright in a collision on U.S. 30 in eastern Tama County on March 6, 2011. His wife and three-day-old son were in the mini-van with him, but not reported seriously injured.

Laine Richard Dennison, 50, Mt. Pleasant, driver of the other vehicle, now faces a charge of homicide by motor vehicle filed two years and 11 months after the crash.

Tama County Attorney Brent Heeren whose office filed the charge on Feb. 6 did not respond to an email seeking comment on why the charge was filed now.

Article Photos

Laine Richard Dennison

Dennison pled guilty in June, 2011, to driving on the wrong side of the roadway and violation of vehicle insurance regulations in connection with the accident.

Magistrate Richard Vander Mey sentenced him to the maximum 30 days in jail to be served consecutively on each charge. Dennison was also directed to pay damages to the Starits family of $2,380, $200 towards the cost of the burial plot and $200 towards the cost of the funeral service.

He was fined $500 on the insurance charge and $625 for driving on the wrong side of the road.

Dennison identified himself in court as a bail bondsman at the time.



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