Former Des Moines Mayor Richard Olson Dies

Richard-OlsonDES MOINES, Iowa – A former mayor of Des Moines has died after a car accident in Maine on Tuesday.

Richard Olson was mayor for the city from 1972-1979. Before that he served on the first city council that was divided into wards, Olson represented the third ward.

While mayor, Olson helped transform the city with projects such as the creation of the downtown skywalk system, the civic center and botanical gardens. He also co-founded Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Central Iowa.

Olson’s widow, Cleojean Olson, told the Des Moines Register┬áthe accident Tuesday evening happened while her husband was on his way back to their vacation home after running errands. The driver and passenger in the vehicle that Olson struck head on were also killed, according to Maine Department of Public Safety.

Troopers said Olson’s Chevrolet Tahoe crossed the center line and struck a GMC pickup truck driven by Phillip Carter. Carter, 32, and 25-year-old passenger Roxanne Papken, both of Bangor, Maine, died at the scene.

Olson was 85-years-old.

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