AMES, Iowa — Two lawsuits have been filed against a Minnesota-based trucking company whose driver was involved in a deadly 2021 crash on Interstate 35 near Ames, Iowa.
The Des Moines Register reported that the estate of Gordon and Jill Martens, who were killed in the crash, and a man from Clear Lake Iowa, filed the lawsuits naming the driver of the tractor-trailer, Matthew Rewitzer, 33, of Eagle Bend, Minnesota, and Ramler Trucking Co., the company Rewitzer was hauling for, as defendants.
The deadly crash happened the afternoon of Sept. 7, 2021, when the tractor-trailer Rewitzer was driving crashed into the back of another semi, causing a multi-vehicle crash involving a van, a pickup truck and another semi.
Gordon Martens, 81, was driving the pickup truck, and his wife, Jill, 79, was the passenger. Both were killed in the crash. The driver of the van, a 35-year-old man from Clear Lake, Iowa, was seriously injured.
The lawsuit states that the defendants’ actions “constituted willful, malicious, wanton, reckless and gross disregard for the safety, welfare and interests of Gordon and Jill Martens and all persons lawfully traveling on the highways and roads of the state of Iowa.”
The Des Moines Register also reported that Rewitzer was involved in two similar rear-end crashes in Wisconsin and Minnesota during the 18-month period before the crash.
Rewitzer’s driver’s license and commercial driver’s licenses were both valid at the time of the Iowa crash. No criminal charges have been filed.
“The Martenses’ suit seeks punitive damages to deter people from committing similar acts,” The Des Moines Register said. “The Clear Lake man, who sustained severe and permanent injuries, according to the lawsuit, asks for damages to compensate his family for his injuries and because he cannot work now.”
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