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Monroe Legacy

Prairie City man among two dead in weekend I-80 crash

A Prairie City man is dead after a motor vehicle accident Saturday.

Joshua Lamont Cox, 24, was the passenger of a vehicle that was rear-ended and spun off the road into a tree at 10:08 p.m. on Interstate 80 near mile-marker 139, according to a crash report from a Iowa State Patrol crash report.

Iowa State Patrol Sgt. Nathan Ludwig said the accident was caused by a vehicle rear-ending the vehicle Cox was in while speeding.

"They were both traveling westbound and the vehicle was going at a higher rate of speed and the other vehicle went down into a ditch and hit a tree," Ludwig said.

Cox was a passenger in a 2016 Ford Focus, driven by 22-year-old Des Moines resident Austin Gainuss. Iowa State Patrol confirmed Tuesday Gainuss has also died from injuries sustained in the crash The vehicle that struck them from behind was a 2018 GMC Pickup truck, driven by 37-year-old Bondurant resident Travis Gonzales.

Authorities say possible charges against Gonzales are pending, and investigators are awaiting a toxicology report on the 37-year-old to see if alcohol was a factor in the incident.

Iowa County Patrol led the investigation at the scene and was assisted by the Polk County Sheriff's Office, Altoona EMS and the Ankeny Fire Department. Gainuss was transported by ambulance to Methodist Hospital in Des Moines. Cox pronounced dead at the scene.

The crash still remains under investigation, Ludwig said.

Funeral arrangements are incomplete for Cox, according to Tim Peter. Peter, pastor at Prairie City Church of the Brethren where Cox attended church gowning up. He later became a janitor for the church. Peter said Cox was a nice man, a football fanatic and had a lot of friends and family members.

"Josh was a really interesting young man. He was super friendly," Peter said. "Josh was a hard Packers fan. He could tell you the roster of almost every NFL franchise. His knowledge of the packers was absolutely astounding.

"It was just shock and sadness," Peter added when he learned of Cox's death. "He was a no-stranger kind of guy."

Contact Orrin Shawl at 641-792-3121 ext. 6533 or at

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