IRETON—Rudolph Martinez of Hawarden has been identified as the person found in a burning vehicle in a field north of Ireton on Friday, Oct. 2, according to the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office.
No foul play is suspected and the sheriff’s office thinks the 78-year-old Martinez had a medical incident that led him to drive his vehicle into the chopped cornfield.
A little before 9 p.m. on Friday authorities were called to a vehicle fire and found a 2007 Jeep Commander fully engulfed.
“The field and ultimately the vehicle started on fire with the victim inside,” a release from the sheriff’s office states.
Martinez was found in the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene by the Sioux County Medical Examiner.
Ireton fire chief Richard Steckelberg described the scene.
“We pulled up and the field was on fire,” he said. “We put the field out and started to spray water on the Jeep and realized a body was in there.”
He called the sheriff’s office and let it know about the situation while firefighters extinguished the Jeep.
When deputies arrived, Steckelberg sent the fire trucks back to the station and they towed the Jeep to Main Street AutoBody & Graphics in Ireton where authorities continued the investigation and eventually removed the body of Martinez.
He was transported to the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation Criminalistics Laboratory in Ankeny for an autopsy.
The Ireton Fire and Rescue assisted on the call.
Steckelberg has served on the volunteer department for nearly 20 years and said he has never seen anything like this before in Ireton, which has a population of about 600 people.
Story has been updated with victim's name.