Iowa Teen Takes Driver’s Keys to Keep Him from Leaving Scene of Accident that Killed Her Friend

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht
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A teenager in Council Bluffs, Iowa, took the keys away from an alleged drunk driver who tried to leave the scene of the accident after he collided with her friend’s car.

After Jessilyn Eisman, 16, saw a van driving the wrong way collide with her friend’s car on Friday, she crawled from the wreckage and told the van’s driver, Hilberto Velasquez-Ramirez, 31, to call 911. He refused.

Eisman, who suffered minor injuries, then took Velasquez-Ramirez’s keys and flagged down another driver to call for help.

“I wasn’t just going to let someone leave that just killed my friend,” Eisman told the Desmoines Register.

Eisman was in the car with Chrishaun Moten, 17, Brenden Kniesly, 18, and Philip Moffatt, 17. Moten was in the backseat and died in the crash. Moffat was seriously injured, but is improving at an Omaha hospital, police said. Kniesly, who was driving the car, was in stable condition Saturday at Council Bluffs hospital.

Moten’s grandmother, Janic Cotton, was called to identify his body at 3:30 a.m. Saturday.

“I really haven't gotten a grip on what has happened,” Cotton told WOWT 6 News. “He's really going to be missed. It's very difficult."

Velasquez-Ramirez is being held on $65,000 bail. He was suspicion of homicide by vehicle, two counts of serious injury by vehicle, operating while intoxicated and having no driver’s license or proof of insurance.

Velasquez-Ramirez admitted to having six beers before the crash. He claims, however, that the other driver swerved and caused the collision.

"She said you killed my buddy,” Velasquez-Ramirez recalled Eisman told him.

“Everything happened really fast,” he said through an interpreter at the Pottawattamie County Jail. “He saw the lights, swerved the wheel, he hit his face."


Sources: Desmoines Register,