The Ottumwa Courier

July 10, 2013

Fairfield man arrested in 2012 vehicular homicide

By CHELSEA DAVIS
Courier staff writer

---- — OTTUMWA — A Fairfield man now faces a vehicular homicide charge months after a car crash north of Batavia killed his father.

Donald Dean Gridley, 44, of Fairfield, has been charged with vehicular homicide, a Class B felony; involuntary manslaughter, a Class D felony; failure to maintain control; failure to obey a stop sign; and failure to have a valid driver's license.

On Dec. 11, the Wapello County Sheriff's Office asked for the Iowa State Patrol's help following a fatality crash on Competine Road in rural Wapello County.

At approximately 3:30 a.m. that day, a 1979 Ford pick-up truck was heading north on Compentine Road when it drove through a stop sign at Compentine Road and 165th Street. The truck came to rest in the north ditch on 165th Street.

Wapello County sheriff deputies found Gridley at a residence near the crash scene, trying to get help. Law enforcement also found his father, Patrick Clair Gridley, 65, of Fairfield, on the floor board of the passenger's side of the crashed truck.

Both men were transported to Ottumwa Regional Health Center by ambulance, where Patrick Gridley was pronounced dead.

Deputies then obtained a warrant for Donald Gridley's urine, which was sent to the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation Lab in Ankeny. Test results showed that he had a blood alcohol content of 0.198, more than two times the legal limit.

Search warrants were also requested for the truck, specifically to look for DNA. The DCI helped collect the samples and conduct testing. DNA collected from the driver's side did not match that of Patrick Gridley.

A search warrant was then obtained for Donald Gridley's DNA, which was sent to the Ankeny DCI lab. Donald Gridley's DNA matched the DNA collected from the driver's side of the truck.

Wapello County Sheriff Chief Deputy Don Phillips said since his arrest on Tuesday, Donald Gridley has since bonded out of jail. He also pleaded not guilty. His preliminary hearing is set for July 22.

This isn't Gridley's first involuntary manslaughter charge. He was found guilty in 1992 of involuntary manslaughter and operating while intoxicated during a June 1991 incident in Jefferson County.

He also has several other intoxication and assault charges on his record from Wapello and Jefferson counties.