Driver reportedly hit Kadyn at 60 mph

Published 5:14 pm Wednesday, September 14, 2011

NORTHWOOD, Iowa — The driver who allegedly struck and killed a 7-year-old girl attempting to board a school bus in Worth County was reportedly driving more than 60 mph at the time of the collision, according to Worth County District Court documents.

Aaron Gunderson

Aaron Dwayne Gunderson, 31, of Northwood, also tested positive for marijuana in the hours that followed the incident May 10 and may have suffered from an eye disorder, court documents state.

Details of the crash were released Wednesday in the affidavit against Gunderson after he was charged with vehicular homicide in the death of Kadyn Halverson, of rural Kensett.

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Re-enacting the collision

According to the affidavit, Gunderson was driving southbound on Raven Avenue on his way to a residence at 1909 430th St. when the incident occurred.

The school bus Kadyn was going to board was completely stopped in front of 4336 Raven Ave. and was facing north, with its flashing red lights and stop arm activated.

Kadyn had been brought to the bus stop by a day care provider who was parked about 25 feet west of the roadway before Kadyn exited the car.

After reenacting and videoing the approach Gunderson would have taken just before he allegedly struck Kadyn, investigators determined the bus with flashing lights would have been visible well over 3,000 feet.

As officers approached from the north at 60 mph, there was a period of about 3 seconds where the road dipped and the bus was not visible, but from 2,158 feet onward, there was a non-obstructed view of the entire area, including the bus and an officer standing in Kadyn’s position.

Weather was not a factor.

Witnesses to Kadyn’s death told authorities the bus driver honked her horn in an attempt to stop the young girl from crossing. She was struck while she was on the side of the road near the fog line and was thrown more than 60 feet into the west ditch of Raven Avenue.

‘Hoped it was not a kid’

Gunderson reportedly continued south on Raven Avenue after he left the scene and then turned east on 430th Street, which is about one-fourth of a mile south of the crash scene.

Witnesses stated just as he turned onto 430th Street, he reportedly stopped for a short time and then continued east.

The residence he was traveling to was about 1 1/2 miles south and west of the scene.

Court documents state when Gunderson arrived at the residence, he talked with Josh Trenhaile, who described Gunderson as “very shaken up.”

Gunderson reportedly told Trenhaile that he had hit a deer as he passed a school bus and that he “hoped it was not a kid,” documents continued.

He reportedly told police that as he approached the area where Kadyn was, he saw the bus but thought it was slowing as if it were going to turn.

He also reportedly stated he suffered from an eye disorder and that he should not be driving.

Gunderson’s blood was drawn later that day at about 4:30 p.m. and came back with tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly known as THC, and Carboxy-THC, which is a marijuana metabolite.

The man reportedly admitted to using marijuana five days prior, but levels of the THC shown in the blood are consistent with more recent use, according to court documents.