After Late-Night Fatal Crash, an iPhone Calls for Help

Police haven't determined what caused accident in Lincoln, Nebraska
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 3, 2022 11:43 AM CDT
Cops Learned of Crash That Killed 6 From iPhone Alert
Flowers and gifts are laid at the site of a deadly car crash during an impromptu memorial service on Sunday in Lincoln, Neb.   (Kenneth Ferriera/Lincoln Journal Star via AP)

A passenger's cellphone automatically alerted responders after a car hit a tree early Sunday in a Nebraska crash that killed all six of the vehicle's young occupants, authorities said. Five men in the Honda Accord died at the scene of the crash around 2:15am in Lincoln, about 3 miles east of the state Capitol, police said, per the AP. A 24-year-old woman died later at a hospital where she was taken in critical condition. The five men who died included the 22-year-old driver. The other victims ranged in age from 21 to 23.

Police said the cause of the crash remains under investigation. Authorities note the crash was reported by an iPhone that detected the impact and called responders automatically when the phone's owner didn't respond. "This is the worst crash in Lincoln in recent memory," Lincoln Police Assistant Chief Michon Morrow said. "We've been trying to think of another accident this bad and we haven't come up with anything." Police haven't IDed the crash victims yet, but family members say that one of the victims was 22-year-old Jonathan Koch, a graduate of Southeast Community College who's been working in human resources.

"He could walk in a room and smile, everyone would laugh, and he made your heart so full," one of Koch's sisters tells KETV, adding her brother loved drawing and spending time with family and friends. Investigators hadn't been able to find any witnesses to the crash by Sunday afternoon, which could make it harder to determine what happened. "The cause of this accident is going to take us some time to pin down," Morrow said. "We are looking at all possibilities, including alcohol, speed, or distracted driving." (Read more car crash stories.)

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