Names released in fatal Saturday crashAuthorities have identified Iszabella Morgan, 9, as the girl who died Saturday in a traffic crash in Mitchell
By: Chris Mueller, The Daily Republic
Authorities have released the name of the 9-year-old Mitchell girl who died Saturday after the vehicle she was riding in was struck by a Mitchell man who was allegedly driving drunk and fleeing from police.
The state Department of Public Safety said Sunday that Iszabella “Bella” Morgan died after she was thrown from the vehicle in the crash that seriously injured five other Mitchell residents.
Funeral services for Morgan will be at 11 a.m. Thursday at Holy Family Catholic Church, with burial in Calvary Cemetery in Mitchell. Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Will Funeral Chapel with a prayer service beginning at 7 p.m.
Michael Sedlmeier, 46, is charged with vehicular homicide, vehicular battery, aggravated eluding and drunken driving. Sedlmeier, who suffered minor injuries in the crash, is being held at the Davison County Jail.
Police had observed Sedlmeier speeding on Main Street, after which Sedlmeier allegedly fled in his vehicle, a red 1998 Ford Taurus, a news release said.
Mitchell police officer Russ Stevenson attempted to stop Sedlmeier’s car, according to Public Safety Chief Lyndon Overweg.
The short-lived chase ended at 2:53 p.m. Saturday when Sedlmeier, while heading south on Duff Street, failed to stop at the intersection of Duff Street and First Avenue and collided with a black 2006 GMC Yukon Denali occupied by a driver, Misty Beth Zilla, 34, and five passengers authorities identified as Rose Hilleson, 63; Alexis Mentzel, 12; McKenna Mentzel, 9; Brielle Zilla, eight months; and Morgan.
The other passengers in the Denali suffered serious but not life-threatening injuries, according to a state Department of Public Safety news release. All were treated and released at Avera Queen of Peace Hospital in Mitchell.
Investigators did not immediately say whether seat belts were used.
Throughout the rest of the weekend, the accident was the talk of Mitchell. A memorial consisting of flowers and balloons was built at the intersection where the crash happened.
Many people left comments expressing sympathy on the Facebook page of Misty Zilla.
“So sorry to hear of the tragedy you are going through,” said one commenter. “Prayers are going up for all of you at this very difficult time.”
The speed of Sedlmeier’s vehicle during the chase and at the moment of impact has not yet been released. He has two previous DUI convictions.
Sedlmeier allegedly attempted to flee the scene on foot, but was chased and tackled by Officer Stevenson about a half block south of the crash scene, according to Overweg.
The accident scene is adjacent to the block where the city of Mitchell’s Public Safety Building is located. The building, which is at the south end of the downtown district, houses the city’s police, fire, ambulance and communications divisions. The area was blocked off for the rest of Saturday afternoon and into the early evening until investigators left the scene.
The South Dakota Highway Patrol is investigating the incident with assistance from the state Division of Criminal Investigation.
Overweg requested the Highway Patrol take over the investigation because of his department’s involvement in the incident. Stevenson remains on duty.
“He was not directly involved in the crash,” the chief said. “He was five blocks behind.”