Driver’s ed teacher dies in crash when teen overcorrects into SUV, Iowa officials say

Fairbank Iowa/Facebook Screengrab
·2 min read

A driver’s education teacher died in a crash when his student driver overcorrected into an oncoming SUV in Iowa, according to local reports.

Instructor Gregory Harter — also the mayor of Fairbank — was a passenger in a Chevy Impala when the vehicle entered the shoulder of Highway 218 near Janesville, WHO reported.

The 14-year-old StreetSmarts Driver’s Ed student driver then overcorrected, crossing into the opposite lane of traffic, according to the Oelwein Daily Register.

Iowa State Patrol was called to the collision at 8:29 a.m. Monday, July 18.

Harter, 71, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the crash report. The driver of the Impala and a 14-year-old passenger were taken to a hospital for treatment.

The 44-year-old driver of the Toyota Highlander SUV was also taken to a hospital with injuries, authorities said.

StreetSmarts Driver’s Ed did not immediately respond to a request for comment from McClatchy News on July 19.

In Iowa, you must be at least 14 years old to get an instruction permit. With this permit, Iowa Department of Transportation says teens can “drive at any time with adult supervision.” StreetSmarts Driver’s Ed requires its students to have an Iowa permit before they can register for driving courses.

“It is with very heavy hearts that we share the sudden passing of our Mayor Gregory (Mike) Harter,” the town of Fairbank shared in a statement to Facebook. “Mike was very active in our community over the years and excelled in his Mayoral position to help lead the community in the right direction.”

He served as mayor of the northeast Iowa community since January 2018.

“Mike’s love for his family and passion for the community was seen daily and his commitment to the City of Fairbank will always be remembered,” city officials said. “He will be dearly missed by city staff, the council, and the community of Fairbank. We’d like to extend our deepest sympathies to Mike’s wife, Marla, their children, Andy (Jeni), and Ryan, and their families.”

Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office described the mayor as a “dedicated and service-oriented city official.”

An investigation into the fatal crash is ongoing.

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