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PROSECUTORS: Driver texting in fatal moped crash

PROSECUTORS: Driver texting in fatal moped crash


WEST UNION — A Des Moines woman was texting when she stuck a Maynard teen on a moped in June 2018 and then continued driving, according to prosecutors.

After two years of investigation, authorities last week arrested Kelli Jo Michael, a 26-year-old nursing assistant who until recently lived in Cedar Falls, on charges of vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a fatal crash in the death of 14-year-old Kaiden Estling.

Kaiden Estling


Bond was set at $50,000, and Michael remains in the Fayette County Jail in West Union pending trial.

Estling and his moped were found about two miles south of Fayette on Iowa Highway 150 shortly before 10 p.m. June 28, 2018. Despite attempts to revive him, he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Details of the investigation, including what led authorities to Michael, haven’t been disclosed. But court records allege she was using a “hand-held electronic communication device” to write or view a text message while driving at the time of the collision.

The homicide charge is punishable by up to 10 years in prison upon conviction, and leaving the scene is punishable by up to five years.

Photos: Missing children in Iowa


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