February 28, 2024

Grinnell man charged in August crash that killed 17-year-old Montezuma girl

Driver faces a number of charges, including involuntary manslaughter

The driver of the car that crashed late August in rural Jasper County and killed a 17-year-old passenger from Montezuma has been met with a number of charges.

Benjamin Kelne, 18, of Grinnell has been charged with reckless driving, possession/purchase of alcohol, careless driving, failure to maintain control and involuntary manslaughter. Chloe Hutchcraft, the passenger, was injured in the accident and had to be air-lifted to a Des Moines hospital.

Hutchcraft died from her injuries two days after the crash. The community of Montezuma and Montezuma High School took to social media to express their grief. Some had even created a GoFundMe account while Hutchcraft was in the hospital. Hutchcraft was active in a number of high school sports.

Jasper County Sheriff’s Office stated in a Nov. 27 press release that it, the Jasper County Attorney’s Office, the Iowa State Medical Examiner’s Office and the Iowa State Patrol have completed their investigation regarding the motor vehicle accident that occurred Aug. 26, leading to the charges.

Newton News previously reported the crash occurred near the 5300 block of Jewel Street, east of Rock Creek. The vehicle was a Jeep and only the two individuals were in it at the time of the crash. Kelne was treated and released from a nearby hospital with only minimal injuries.

The vehicle was found on its side, suggesting it rolled over at least once.

At the time of Hutchcraft’s death, the Montezuma High School’s cross-country Facebook page acknowledged their departed teammate.

“You pray to never have moments like these. Chloe was a beautiful soul. We’re heartbroken over the sudden loss of our teammate and friend, and can only wish for more time to laugh, make memories or go on one more run. We love you, Chlo. We can. We will. For Chloe.”

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig has a strong passion for community journalism and covers city council, school board, politics and general news in Newton, Iowa and Jasper County.