ANKENY, Iowa — It's been exactly one week since a car accident in Ankeny led to a tragic fire that cost one woman her home, and we are starting to get a clearer picture of what led up to the accident.
Shortly after 1 a.m. on Dec. 20, a vehicle was headed eastbound on SE Mallard Creek Drive, but the driver did not slow down for a curve in the road, launching the vehicle airborne into a townhome, according to a police report.
The vehicle caught fire shortly after impact, which then spread to the townhome.
The home of 73-year-old JoEllen Myers suffered the most damage, but the owner herself is unharmed. However, nearly all of her belongings were lost in the fire.
"She lost everything other than the clothes on her back that she had on when she left the unit after the fire," said Terry Whipple, President of the Mallard Creek Homeowner's Association "In fact, my wife actually gave her a coat so she'd have a coat to wear. And so we're all very concerned about her."
Following the fire, Myers' granddaughter started a GoFundMe to help raise money for replacing her belongings. The fundraiser says donations are going towards clothing, warm winter gear and other everyday essentials.
Neighbors who know Myers aren't surprised by the outpouring of support.
"That's the Iowa way. That's what we do here. Fortunately, we have a bunch of really good people that live here. And I'm sure that we'll all wrap our arms around them that help them get through this," Whipple said.
As of Dec. 27, that GoFundMe has raised just over $6,000 towards that goal. The money raised by Dec. 25 was given to Myers as a Christmas present.
Whipple told Local 5 the total damage to the townhomes amounts to around $500,000. He estimates it will be about nine months before residents will be able to move in again.
According to police reports, the driver of the vehicle which caused the accident has been given citations for reckless driving, failure to maintain control, leaving the scene of an accident and driving with a suspended license.
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