Late Friday night, a single-car crash on the 1800 block of South Sixth Street in Marshalltown killed four people.
The Marshalltown Police Department said in a press release that first responders were called to the scene at 11:12 p.m. on Friday and found a car that had hit a utility pole. The car had been badly damaged and was on fire.
All of the victims died at the scene. They were identified as Adrian Lara, 13, Isaac Lara, 16, Linette Lopez, 15, and Yanitza Lopez, 17. They were all from Marshalltown. Yanitza Lopez, a senior in high school, was named the MHS homecoming queen for 2022.
The details of the accident are still being looked into, and the MPD has asked for help from the Iowa State Patrol. Marshalltown Police Chief Mike Tupper told the T-R that he would share more information as it became available.
He also said that the crash was “a tragic event that will have a big effect on our whole community” and asked that the families of those who died to be given their privacy.
“The Lara and Lopez families are very dear to us. “This is a terrible thing for our whole town,” Tupper said. “We know that the community will be there for everyone who is hurt. That’s how things work in Marshalltown. Please pray for peace and comfort for everyone.”
The Marshalltown Community School District also put out a press release about the deaths of four of its students. The release called the deaths “deeply saddening” and said that mental health professionals will be at the MHS and Miller Middle School libraries on Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m. and as needed for the rest of the week to help students and staff.
“We ask everyone in the Marshalltown School Community to keep the families of these students in your thoughts and prayers and to give them privacy during this hard time,” said the release’s last sentence.
Saturday night, a candlelight vigil was held at St. Henry’s Catholic Church to mourn the deaths of the four teens. At least 200 people from the community came to be with each other and find comfort. During the vigil, candles were lit, and Father Alan Dietzenbach spoke a few comforting words in both English and Spanish to those who were there.
“Last night’s events were an accident. No one is to blame for a terrible accident. Instead of pointing your finger, you should fold your hand and pray for the Lopez and Lara families. For us, their siblings, their families, and our community here in Marshalltown,” Dietzenbach said.
After the vigil was over, people who were there were asked to stay, pray, and talk with each other. Paper and pens were available for people who wanted to say they were sorry. The notes were collected and given to the Lopez and Lara families.
Ruben Rodriguez also set up a GoFundMe for the Lopez family to help pay for funeral costs. The goal was to raise $20,000, but it was quickly passed. So far, $21,515 has been raised for the Lopez family as of Saturday night.
Jessica Rundall also set up a GoFundMe account for the Lara family to help pay for funeral costs. Also, $20,000 is the goal, and as of Saturday night, $17,186 had been raised for the Lara family.
If you know anything about the crash that killed someone, you can call the Marshall County Police Department at (641) 754-5725 or Marshall County Crime Stoppers at (641) 753-1234.
The ISP, Marshalltown Fire Department, Marshall County Sheriff’s Office, UnityPoint Ambulance, and the Marshall County 911 Communications Center all helped the MPD at the scene.