A 36-year-old Burlington woman faces felony charges after she was arrested on a warrant in connection with the vehicle-involved 2021 death of a blind pedestrian.
Megan Kalar, who was arrested Tuesday on a warrant, faces charges of homicide by vehicle- reckless driving and homicide by vehicle – operating under the influence, court documents show.
Shortly after 9 p.m. Feb. 26, 2021, officers were dispatched to the intersection of Summer Street and Grove Street for a report of a man who had been hit by a car, arrest affidavits show.
Officers found that the man who had been hit by a car – later identified as Jacob Sexton, of Burlington – was lying on the side of the road being treated by a witness who said she was a nurse. She continued to help Sexton until EMS arrived to take over, officers say in affidavits.
Officers saw a red-and-white walking cane and a cellphone lying near Sexton, and learned that Sexton, who was blind, had been using his phone as a GPS device to find his way home, police allege in affidavits.
Affidavits show that, after EMS arrived, Sexton was transported to the Great River Medical Center for treatment, and was life-flighted shortly afterward to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, where he was pronounced deceased.
Officers spoke with Kalar, the driver of the car – a Chevy Impala – that had struck Sexton. Kalar said she was driving south on Summer Street when she heard a vehicle honking. Kalar stated she did not know what the vehicle was honking at and then she struck something in the road. Kalar said she continued driving but “figured she needed to come back to see what she had hit,” officers allege in affidavits.
Kalar said when she returned to the accident scene, she realized she had hit a person. Officers asked Kalar if he had been drinking, and Kalar said no, according to affidavits, which show Kalar said she had not been texting at the time of the accident.
Affidavits say Kalar consented to a preliminary breath test, and said she had one drink – water with about two shots of rum – that day about 3:30 p.m. when she got off work.
“Officers observed that Kalar had red watery eyes, slurred speech and had the odor of an intoxicating beverage emanating from her person,” police allege in affidavits.
Officers asked Kalar if she would complete Standardized Field Sobriety Testing, and she agreed. “Kalar showed signs of intoxication during two out of the three tests,” police allege in affidavits.
A witness said she drove south on Summer Street when she noticed a car swerved into her lane to avoid something. She said as she approached the obstacle, she realized that it was a man walking south in the northbound lane. She said the next vehicle she saw traveling north was not slowing down so she applied her horn. The witness said that as she passed this car, she heard contact and saw the car hit the man.
The witness “stated that the man went airborne and was at least 10 feet in the air,” and that she estimated the vehicle’s speed to be between 30-35 mph. The witness stopped her vehicle, called 911 and began to help the man who had been hit. After about two minutes a woman approached and said she was the one who had hit the man, affidavits say.
Court documents say Kalar has been assigned a Des Moines County Public Defender, and that she has waived a preliminary hearing.