IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The auctioneer's truck at a busy Iowa livestock auction lost control and sped into a crowd of people Monday, killing one and injuring at least five, authorities said.
The accident happened Monday at about 10 a.m. at the Kalona Sales Barn in Kalona during a horse auction attended by several hundred people. While the auctioneer, the clerk and others running the auction were working in the back of the truck, the driver "had a medical situation" while driving from one trailer to another that caused him to hit the accelerator and lose control of the Ford F-250 truck, said city administrator Ryan Schlabaugh.
The truck threw out some of the workers from the back and struck six or seven people in the parking lot outside the barn, he said. It then struck a tree, and continued through downtown Kalona for a block before coming to a stop, he said.
Authorities in Washington County issued a statement saying that one person was pronounced dead at the scene, and five others who were injured were transported to area hospitals. They said the name of the deceased was being withheld pending notification of relatives, and they did not immediately release the name of the driver.
Schlabaugh said those who were thrown out of the back of the truck suffered cuts and abrasions, but the victims taken to the hospital were the ones hit by the truck. Ambulances and a University of Iowa medical helicopter were among the agencies that responded to the scene.
Schlabaugh said the Kalona Sales Barn is one of the oldest businesses in the city and was one of the first sale barns west of the Mississippi River. Owner Devin Mullet declined comment, but its website says the barn was founded in 1947 by his family and that its horse, sheep and cattle sales "have grown to be the largest in the Midwest."
Schlabaugh said that up to 500 people attend the auctions, and he saw at least 300 people when he arrived on the scene shortly after Monday's accident.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with those who were injured and we hope they can recover," he said. "Judging it right now, it's an unforeseen accident that should be looked at accordingly."
Kalona is an eastern Iowa town of about 2,600 residents, 20 miles southwest of Iowa City.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.