The Ottumwa Courier

June 10, 2013

Mistrial declared in case against former transit director

CHELSEA DAVIS
Courier Staff Writer

DES MOINES — Jurors could not come to a conclusion in the case against the former director of Ottumwa Transit Authority, resulting in a mistrial.

Pam Ward's trial, which began on June 3, was handed over to the 12-member jury Friday afternoon, who continued deliberations until approximately 1:30 p.m. Monday, when each juror was polled and a mistrial was declared.

At 10:40 a.m. Monday, the jury sent a question to U.S. District Court Chief Judge James Gritzner: "We are at a serious impass [sic] and decisions are not changing." Continue working, Gritzner responded, and come to a conclusion.

Two hours later, the jury sent its final question to the judge: "Despite our best efforts, we have firmly entrenched decisions on both sides of the verdict that we cannot overcome."

Ward has been accused of using inflated ridership numbers in federal grant applications, which resulted in four federal charges of willfully making “materially false, fictitious and fraudulent statements” in grant applications between 2007-10. Following a report from the Iowa auditor's office two years ago, Ward was fired from her position as director of OTA (now Ottumwa Transit) and 10-15 Transit.

According to court documents, prosecutors listed five witnesses they planned on calling to testify: Deb Applegate, Pam Lee, Brenda Stevens, Ray Wagner and James Wittenwyler.

The defense listed 15 planned witnesses: Tom Jones, Wes Regan, Ed Mosbey, Mark Hagist, Lee Dimmitt, Kim Hellige, Richard Hem, Bob Meyers, Jeremy Weller, Dave Silverio, Pat Piras, Autumn Wonderlin, Peter Hallock, Hannah Jo Kyhl and Jennifer Teamer.

Both prosecutors and defense presented their closing arguments Friday afternoon.