Truck smashes into Iowa Walmart store killing 3 people

PELLA, Iowa (AP) — A pickup truck smashed through the front doors of an Iowa Walmart store on Thursday, killing three people and scattering merchandise on the floor before it came to a stop at the fresh produce section in what authorities believe was a tragic accident.

A photograph posted by the Des Moines Register showed the pickup resting near a sign that said “Fresh Produce,” with boxes and other debris behind it. Witnesses said the truck entered through the front doors on the grocery portion of the store and came to a rest after hitting a merchandise display near the produce section.

“At this time, we don’t have any reason to believe it was intentional,” said Patrol Sgt. Nathan Ludwig, who was at the scene of the crash. Ludwig said officials are investigating all possible scenarios.

The crash in Pella, Iowa, just before 10 a.m. killed three people — all outside the vehicle — and injured the driver and another person, Ludwig said. None of those killed or injured were children.

Authorities had not released the identities of those involved by early Thursday afternoon as officials worked to inform family members of the casualties. Ludwig said he did not have the medical conditions of those hurt.

Witnesses told Knoxville, Iowa radio station KNIA/KRLS that the truck was traveling at a high rate of speed at the time of the crash.

The store was evacuated and closed Thursday as law enforcement investigated.

An employee at the store, Judy Playle, of Leighton, told the Des Moines Register that the crash came as “a big shock” that left store employees terrified.

“It’s a family here,” Playle told the newspaper. “My thoughts and prayers are with everyone that works here, the man who drove through and his family.”

Walmart management said in a statement: “We’re heartbroken by what appears to be a tragic accident.”

Pella — a city of 10,000 known for its Dutch roots and fully functional 1850s-style windmill — is 38 miles southeast of Des Moines.

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Information from: KNIA-AM, http://www.kniakrls.com

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