Tragedy struck the Baxter community this weekend, overshadowing the normally cheerful and exciting events of the school’s Junior/Senior prom.
Six students from the school, on their way home from the dance, were involved in a fatal car accident that has claimed the lives of two.
Tim Thalacker, a senior at Baxter High School, had allegedly been drinking at the time. Thalacker had been driving along Station Street when he lost control of his vehicle, colliding with Brittaney Davies’ vehicle.
Jordan Hiney was riding in Thalacker’s back seat and was not seriously injured in the accident.
Alex Joseph, a senior at Baxter High School, had been riding in Thalacker’s front-passenger seat. Joseph was not wearing his seat belt at the time of the collision and was ejected from the vehicle. The county examiner pronounced him dead at the scene of the accident.
Davies was trapped in her vehicle. When the Baxter Fire Department extracted her with the jaws of life, she was pronounced deceased by the county examiner. Davies’ mother, Jolynda Davies, was present at the time of the announcement.
The Baxter Police Department and the Jasper County Sheriff’s office responded to the scene and found empty beer cans strewn around the site of the accident and inside of Thalacker’s vehicle. Thalacker and his other passenger Jordan Hiney failed to pass field sobriety tests administered by Jasper County Sheriff John Halferty.
Olivia Molyneux was grievously injured in the accident. Members of Baxter’s first response team attempted to call in the Life Flight helicopter from Des Moines, but weather conditions prevented a helicopter response. Molyneux was taken by city ambulance to the Skiff Medical Center in Newton where she is still listed in critical condition.
Authorities are still investigating where Thalacker obtained his alcohol. They intend to press charges once they have more information.
Thalacker was charged with vehicular homicide, left of center, driving with an open container and underage possession of alcohol.
Hiney was charged with possession of marijuana, possession of prescription medication, possession of drug paraphernalia and interference with official acts.
Joint funeral services for Brittaney Davies and A.J. Flora were held in the Baxter High School gymnasium the following day by Fredregill Family Funeral Home. The Baxter schools have encouraged students to visit with several grief counselors who will be available in the school for the next week.
Editor’s Note: The story below is entirely false. It is following a mock accident arranged to expose local students to the tragic realities of drunk driving. The names used in this story are those of real students, but they were not actually affected by the events depicted in this article.
We encourage our readers to read this article and discuss it, as well as the mock accident with their children. The second part of this story, which details the funeral and tragic fallout within the community from a drunk-driving incident, will appear in next week’s issue.