Charges elevated to vehicular homicide for Des Moines resident who hit and killed motorcyclist

21-year-old Des Moines, Iowa resident Jacob Phipps, who was initially taken into police custody on charges of operating while intoxicated (first offense), open container, serious injury by vehicle, and failure to maintain control, is now facing charges of vehicular homicide after 51-year-old Michael Harden, also a Des Moines local and the motorcyclist that Phipps hit with his vehicle, died on Tuesday, April 8.

The accident occurred between Phipps and Harden, who was riding a motorcycle, on East 30th Street and Dean Avenue on Saturday, March 29 at around 6:35 p.m. Harden was rushed to Mercy Medical Center to receive treatment for serious injuries, and passed away a little more than a week later. According to the police, Phipps had a blood alcohol level of .182% at the time of the crash, and they also reported that a bottle of vodka was found inside his vehicle.

Our thoughts go out to Harden’s friends and loved ones during this difficult time.


Des Moines man charged with OWI and assault

On Monday, March 17 Vacarro Lee Butts, 26, caused a car accident in Des Moines. After the accident, he assaulted another driver and left the accident site.

The crash occurred around 1:30 p.m. at the intersection of Southwest Ninth Street and Army Post Road. A responding officer witnessed Butts punched the other driver twice in the face before fleeing towards Dickman Street. Butts eventually crashed through a gate and fence at Fort Des Moines Museum.

Butts was charged with leaving the scene of an accident, operating while intoxicated (OWI), assault, driving with an open container, second-degree criminal mischief, interference with official acts, driving while barred, driving without insurance, and striking fixtures.

If you have been injured by a reckless driver, you should not be responsible for costs related to your injuries. The attorneys at LaMarca Law Group, P.C., advocate for Des Moines people that sustain injuries because of someone else’s carelessness. Call our offices at  (515) 225-2600 today to discuss your legal options.


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