Authorities say a Davenport man on meth “frantically” stole and crashed an SUV into the Mississippi River while a disabled elderly man was inside the vehicle, killing him.
Joshua Scott Peters, 36, was arrested and charged Friday by the Muscatine County Sheriff’s Office with vehicular homicide – while intoxicated, a Class B felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison. Peters was also charged with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death, a Class D felony punishable by up to five years in prison; first-degree larceny, a Class C felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison; and driving while prohibited.
Peters was being held Friday at Muscatine County Jail on $500,000 cash-only bond.
According to a criminal complaint and affidavit of arrest, deputies were called just after midnight Friday to the Fairport State Recreation Area at 3284 Highway 22 in Muscatine to a report of a missing person and a stolen vehicle.
Deputies had already been dispatched to the campground about an hour prior at around 11 p.m. Thursday on a report of the disturbance, but did not locate any subjects or vehicles involved in the incident.
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Muscatine County Sheriff’s Deputies met with the wife and daughter of William A. Talbot, 71, of Davenport. The couple told deputies their blue 2016 Chevrolet Equinox was stolen from the campsite as they were setting up their tent and Talbot was inside the vehicle.
According to the complaint, the wife and daughter told deputies they did not know who stole the vehicle.
“This was later found to be untrue,” the complaint reads.
While speaking with the wife and daughter, deputies were called to a report of owners holding at gunpoint a man ‘completely drenched in water and acting very strangely’ who had come forward at their home in Montpellier, according to court records.
Owners told authorities the man, later identified as Peters, said he believed he had been in a car accident and was trying to drive to Davenport.
During their investigation, deputies determined that Peters, Talbot, Talbot’s wife and Talbot’s daughter arrived at the campsite around 8 p.m. Thursday and that Peters ingested methamphetamine about an hour later around 9 p.m. At 11 p.m., an alleged fight took place between Peters and several unidentified individuals. , say court records.
“Peters frantically climbed into the driver’s side seat of the vehicle and fled with (Talbot) in the passenger seat,” according to the criminal complaint. “Witnesses informed (Talbot) that he tried to get out of the vehicle and was unable to do so.”
Peters turned west on Highway 22 as he fled the campground and drove erratically — braking, swerving and accelerating aggressively as he drove — witnesses told authorities. At some point, Peters turned around on Highway 22. As he traveled east on the highway, Peters lost control, left the roadway, and entered a south ditch, according to the authorities. He then hit a traffic sign and traveled about 255 feet before reaching Tombstone Trail in Montpelier at Clark’s Ferry Recreation Area, according to the criminal complaint.
Peters then turned south and drove the vehicle into the Mississippi River. He was able to escape as the vehicle began to submerge, leaving Talbot inside, authorities said.
The vehicle sank to the bottom of the river and was located and recovered late Friday morning by Muscatine County Search and Rescue with Talbot’s body inside. Iowa State Patrol, Midtown Towing, and the Muscatine County Medical Examiner’s Office also assisted.
“Peters has shown signs of impairment, including an inability to remain seated and provide consistent statements about the incident,” Muscatine County Sheriff’s Deputy Jacob Walker wrote in the signed criminal complaint and l affidavit of arrest.
Walker wrote that Peters admitted to using meth in a post-Miranda interview. Peters also failed a field sobriety test and a sample of his blood was taken “to determine drug content”.
Peters made a first appearance Friday morning in Muscatine County District Court and was granted a court-appointed attorney by the Public Defender’s Office.
He is next due in court on May 2 at the Muscatine County Courthouse for a preliminary hearing.
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