A man accused of killing two people with a dump truck faces 20 years in prison
POCATELLO — The man accused of causing a crash on Interstate 15 in which two people died faces two felony charges.
Kenneth Dale Conley, 67, of Rexburg, was charged with two counts of vehicular manslaughter, court records show.
The following information recounts the events surrounding the incident and details of Conley’s arrest.
Idaho State Police received reports of a multi-vehicle crash on southbound Interstate 15, just north of Pocatello, around 2 p.m., according to a probable cause affidavit.
When the forces arrived, they noticed a passenger car that had suffered severe damage. The vehicle, a 1998 Toyota Avalon, was in the median, “crashed and caused significant damage to the entire vehicle,” a trooper wrote in a police report.
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In addition to the Toyota, troopers noted that three other vehicles were damaged, including a Peterbilt dump truck.
Troopers determined the dump truck was driving over the top of the Toyota.
Troopers spoke with the occupants of two of the vehicles involved — a truck that was struck and sent to the central area and a second truck that was pulling a horse-drawn trailer. But all three occupants of the Toyota have already been transported to Portneuf Medical Center by air ambulance to receive emergency care.
Reports show that the tipper truck driver was taken to PMC by a ground ambulance.
While some soldiers remained at the crash site to investigate the accident and assist with traffic, others went to the PMC to question the people involved.
Upon arriving at PMC, troopers were told that two of the vehicle’s three occupants — 23-year-old Jarren Goering and 27-year-old Monique Morales — had died.
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The third passenger in the Toyota, 20-year-old Maria Morales, spoke to the soldiers. She said she, Monique and Goering were driving and talking, “and the next thing she knew they were being hit from behind and Goering’s head was in her lap,” according to the affidavit.
The soldiers then went to the room where Conley was receiving treatment.
Conley, who troopers observed was lying in a hospital bed wearing a neck brace, told troopers he was experiencing chest pains and believed he may have suffered a concussion.
When Conley was asked what he remembered, he told troopers he couldn’t remember much, just that he was involved in a crash and that there was a horse-drawn trailer.
The soldiers wondered how the accident could have been avoided. “I should have gone slower,” Conley said, according to the affidavit.
Troopers were told they needed to look into Conley’s “usual driving behaviours”, by a senior specialist at the ISP.
Following the introduction, troopers spoke with office employees at a St. Anthony-based construction company who interacted with Conley. One person who spoke with troops said they had been told “how bad” Conley’s driving was, but had never witnessed it firsthand. They gave the soldiers contact information for people with better information. The affidavit says someone interacted with Conley on the day of the incident.
Soldiers spoke with workers at a construction site near where the accident occurred.
One person there told troopers that Conley drove recklessly through the construction zone. Conley would retreat from the construction site — on average — cutting people off and almost causing shipwrecks, the person said. They said Conley was told on more than one occasion that his driving was unsafe, but that he “would ignore their suggestions as if it didn’t matter,” the affidavit said.
The troopers then spoke with a person who provided additional details about Conley’s driving. That person said Conley was speeding through construction sites and had crashed into truck scales on several occasions.
A third person said they saw Conley crossing several lanes of traffic, cutting people off, to get to the median. They said Conley doesn’t monitor his surroundings and constantly changes trucks because he “keeps screwing up other trucks.” They said Conley nearly caused several accidents and they were worried Conley might kill someone.
Conley offers a statement
Troopers spoke with Conley, who reportedly suffered a concussion and a cut on his head that required 12 stitches.
Conley said he made about five trips back and forth that day, delivering sand and gravel to the construction site. He said he was leaving the site, but “traffic was moving slower than he wanted” when the accident occurred.
He told troopers that he had limited memory of the accident, and that he was changing routes while climbing to the top of the hill. The next thing he remembers, according to the affidavit, is crashing into the horse trailer.
Conley told troopers that he does not consume alcohol and only takes prescription medication for his blood pressure. He said drugs never hindered his driving performance.
The soldiers talked to Maria about the incident.
She remembered the three passengers talking and driving the car. She added that her car was then hit from behind. Maria said she did not feel the impact but remembered feeling as if the car was shrinking.
She said she heard a crushing sound as the truck flipped over her, then felt the car “exit” out of the right lane, across the left lane and into the median, where it came to rest.
Once the car stopped, Maria told troopers she saw Goering’s head with a “bad cut.” Then she turned around and saw her sister, Monique, unconscious and breathing hard in the back seat. She told the policeman that she started screaming for Monique and Goering to wake up.
She said a man entered her car and offered assistance. She told the officer she reached into the back seat and grabbed Monique’s hand.
When troopers arrived, they quickly removed Goering and Monique from the car and began performing CPR, she said. The three were taken to PMC by helicopter. While at PMC, Maria was informed of the deaths of both Goering and Monique.
Troopers were informed that the dash cam footage they requested was no longer available.
The footage was initially requested on August 10, but there were lapses in communication between the troopers and the company employing the truck driver. The requested footage was from the truck that was behind the accident.
Police reports show that soldiers called the company to request the footage eight times between August 10 and August 21. When a manager responded to the requests, he told the soldiers that the footage had already been overwritten.
Troopers obtained a search warrant for medical records and toxicology results from Conley on the day of the incident.
The affidavit does not indicate whether these documents were handed over to the authorities.
Conley was arrested while being held on a warrant out of Madison County. The arrest warrant was issued when Conley did not appear in court on a misdemeanor charge of failure to remain at the scene of an accident.
Court records show this crash happened on Sept. 12 — more than a month after the fatal crash on I-15.
Conley is being held on $25,000 bond in Bannock County.
Although Conley has been charged with these crimes, this does not necessarily mean that he committed them. Everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
If convicted, Conley could face up to 20 years in prison.
He is scheduled to appear in court before Judge Scott Axlin for a preliminary hearing on November 28.
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