ROCK RAPIDS—Lyon County has sued a 44-year-old rural Ashton man for negligence for crashing into to one of its road maintainers.

The lawsuit — filed on May 1, 2019, in Lyon County District Court in Rock Rapids — stems back to when Arvin Gene Krahling was injured in a two-vehicle collision on June 13, 2017, at 2077 Jefferson Ave. on the western edge of George.

Krahling was driving south on Jefferson Avenue in a 2005 Ford F-250 when the pickup struck a 2005 Caterpillar road grader that was moving a downed tree.

The pickup was owned by 35-year-old Ashley Marie Feucht of Sibley.

Krahling was operating the vehicle with Feucht’s consent, according to court documents.

Sixty-one-year-old Gerald Grave of George was operating the county-owned road maintainer, which had front and rear lights activated and a flashing light activated on top of the cab of the vehicle.

“The pickup Krahling was driving struck debris on the road, then struck the 2005 Caterpillar owned by Lyon County,” according to the county’s complaint. “Lyon County sustained property damage to its vehicle.”

Deputies from the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office investigated the crash.

“The investigation revealed evidence that Krahling had been consuming alcohol at the time of the collision between the vehicles,” according to the county’s complaint.

Krahling was transported to Sanford Sheldon Medical Center with minor injuries and arrested upon his release for second-offense operating while under the influence, an aggravated misdemeanor.

Krahling pleaded guilty on Dec. 26, 2017, to an amended charge of reckless driving, a simple misdemeanor.

He was sentenced the next day to serve 30 days in the Lyon County Jail in Rock Rapids with all days suspended and with credit for any time already served.

Krahling also was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $2,593.57 to the county engineer’s office as well as a $100 fine, $100 in court costs and a $35 statutory surcharge.

The county clerk of court’s office confirmed he has paid the restitution in full.

No damage amount has been detailed for the county’s road grader, but the “amount in controversy exceeds $10,000,” according to the county’s complaint.

The county has alleged Krahling was negligent in failing to:

  • Maintain a proper lookout.
  • Maintain control of his vehicle.
  • Drive his vehicle as a reasonably careful motorist would under the circumstances.

“Krahling’s negligence caused damages to Lyon County,” according to the county’s complaint. “Lyon County’s damages were within Krahling’s scope of liability for negligence.”

The county also originally had included Feucht in its complaint for ownership liability.

However, Alex Grasso of Des Moines, Lyon County’s attorney for this case, filed on June 13, 2019, to have Feucht dismissed from the lawsuit without prejudice.

That means the county could file a complaint against Feucht again in the future.

Lyon County, which is seeking punitive damages, cited in its complaint that Krahling previously has been convicted of OWI in O’Brien County and had been charged with second-offense OWI in Osceola County, which he pleaded guilty to on June 17, 2019.

“Krahling has repeated­­ly operated vehicles on Iowa roadways while under the influence of alcohol,” according to the county’s complaint. “Krahling’s conduct is a wanton and willful disregard for the rights or safety of Lyon County.”

No response has been filed on behalf of Krahling in the litigation as of yet, according to court documents.

A nonjury trial in the case has been scheduled at 1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24, at the Lyon County Courthouse in Rock Rapids.

According to its complaint, the county “demands judgment against the defendant Arvin Krahling in an amount that will fully and fairly reimburse Lyon County, including but not limited to, punitive damages, plus pre-filing interest at the statutory rate and court costs.”