After two weeks and dozens of tips, police say they’ve found the driver of the vehicle that hit and killed a man in Des Moines.
58-year old Clayton Payne was hit by a car on March 16th while walking across the street near Sixth and College in Des Moines. He later died at the hospital of his injuries. The driver fled the scene, and has been the focus of an extensive search ever since. The search finally ended with the arrest of 26-year old Kristine Gordon. She’s charged with driving while barred, leaving the scene of a fatal accident, and failure to yield to a pedestrian.
Police say this isn’t the first time Gordon has been caught illegally behind the wheel. Gordon’s record is extensive, and includes four OWI arrests.
“4th offense drunk driving is not something we see very often,” said Sgt. Jason Halifax with the Des Moines Police Department, “Obviously 3rd offense is a felony in Iowa.”
That third offense sent her to prison with a maximum of 5 years to serve. Gordon was released after serving just over a year.
Police say since Gordon was arrested weeks after she hit and killed Payne, there is no way to tell if she was intoxicated this time.
“This person has an illness,” said Ron Berg, CEO of Mecca Services, and president of Iowa Behavioral Health Association, “they`ve created a criminal act, but first and foremost they`re a person that has an illness that needs assistance.”
Berg said the typical pattern for OWI arrest is an evaluation, a treatment recommendation, and required substance abuse classes.
Judging by Gordon’s record, Berg says it’s safe to assume she had been through all that, more than once.
“95 percent of people that qualify or meet the criteria for problem drinking don`t want to receive services,” said Berg.
The Governor’s Conference on substance abuse was held Tuesday and Wednesday. The focus is educating professionals in the field, but Berg says there is also talk of funding state programs.