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UPDATE: Suspect arrested in fatal I-380 crash

Published: Mar. 24, 2021 at 2:57 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The suspect in a fatal wrong-way crash on I-380 earlier this month has turned himself into police just hours after police issued warrants for his arrest and a call for information on his whereabouts.

Police say Tyler Lee, 34 of Rockton, Illinois, was driving the wrong way on I-380 North on March 7th when his pick-up collided head-on with an SUV. One person in the SUV, died in the crash and three others were seriously hurt.

Police say the investigation and toxicology results led to warrants for Lee on charges of Homicide by Vehicle-Operating While Intoxicated, Homicide by Vehicle-Reckless Driving, and two counts of Serious Injury by Motor Vehicle.

Police say Lee turned himself into police Wednesday afternoon.

Cedar Rapids Police responded to criticism late Wednesday afternoon of not holding Lee after the crash. In a statement on Facebook, the department said Lee was not cooperative and police did not have enough evidence to hold him on charges until toxicology and other evidence became available.

“There are cases throughout the country in which expedient charges filed result in a defendant pleading guilty immediately, and then when additional evidence is available, the more serious charges are not allowed due to double jeopardy,” the department wrote. “We have been in continuous communication with the families of those involved and kept them informed on this case. We do appreciate the comments of many of you who take the time to understand the important complexities of conducting an investigation”

Full Cedar Rapids Police Department statement from Facebook:

We know several people have made comments regarding why he wasn’t detained immediately after release from the hospital. The suspect was not cooperative with officers that morning. The Police Department needed to wait for additional evidence to become available, including toxicology reports, to present charges to the County Attorney’s Office. With serious injury and death involved in this case, officers must follow procedures so as not to deny justice to the family because of procedural issues. There are cases throughout the country in which expedient charges filed result in a defendant pleading guilty immediately, and then when additional evidence is available, the more serious charges are not allowed due to double jeopardy. We have been in continuous communication with the families of those involved and kept them informed on this case. We do appreciate the comments of many of you who take the time to understand the important complexities of conducting an investigation.

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