Iowa State Patrol confirms investigation continues, some clarifications offered in accident and ensuing investigation involving husband of County Attorney

There has been little to update from official sources regarding the November 13 single-vehicle accident involving Christopher Mirich, age 38, of Waukon, husband of Allamakee County Attorney Jill Kistler, and an ensuing investigation the following day involving search warrants being executed by Iowa State Patrol officers at the couple’s home and Mirich’s place of employment first reported in last week’s issue of The Standard.

Sergeant Jewel O’Rear, Assistant District Commander of Iowa State Patrol’s District 10 headquarters located in Oelwein, did confirm in a Monday, November 26 telephone interview that the investigation is still in progress and initially said there is no further information about the case or the continuing investigation that can be shared at this point.

An initial accident report obtained by the KWWL television station from the Iowa State Patrol and posted on the television station’s website in a report last week stated that there were two occupants in the Mirich vehicle when it entered a ditch off of State Highway 9 more than 300 feet to the west of its intersection with County Road X6A (Four Mile Drive) and rolled one time about three miles west of Lansing, near the Croell Redi-Mix plant location. A more recent copy of that accident report, obtained by The Standard from the Iowa State Patrol District 10 office in Oelwein Monday, November 26, lists just one occupant of the vehicle, Mirich as the driver, who had left the scene in a reported effort to find better cell phone reception.

“Initially, there were multiple agencies involved in the accident coverage and the initial speculation was that there were two occupants in the vehicle,” Sgt. O’Rear explained. “Our continued investigation determined that there was only one occupant of the vehicle involved in the accident.”

As reported in last week’s issue of The Standard, the day following Mirich’s accident, Wednesday, November 14, the Iowa State Patrol executed a search warrant on the Kistler-Mirich home and Mirich’s place of employment, both located in Waukon, as well as on Mirich himself and the vehicle involved in the accident, Mirich’s 1997 white Dodge pick-up that remains in the custody of law enforcement authorities as the investigation continues. The only items seized in those searches, according to court documents, were Mirich’s current cell phone, an older cell phone he previously used, and a U.S. Cellular phone bill linked to Mirich’s cell phone number, all of which were obtained from the search of the couple’s home and also still remain seized as of the Tuesday, November 27 printing of this publication.

A review of district court documents provided a bit of a further development in that matter, as Mirich filed an application for the return of seized property last week for the two phones, the cell phone bill and his pick-up, citing in the application that he is “suffering financial hardship as a result of these items not being immediately returned...” while also noting, “Every day that the property is not returned costs me storage fees and my cell phone is my mode of communication with my employer.” The application was filed in Allamakee County District Court Tuesday, November 20 with an ensuing order being filed by District Court Judge John Bauercamper Wednesday, November 21 stating that the applicable law enforcement agency “is granted 20 days from the date of this order to file written objections to the application.”

The document further orders that if no objections are filed within that timeframe, the court may issue another order granting the application without any further notice or hearing. But if any objections are filed, a hearing may then have to be scheduled upon notice to all parties involved.

As was the case with previous questions pertaining to the ongoing investigation, Sgt. O’Rear reiterated she could not comment any further on the application and order documents pertaining to the seized property. “I apologize, but we simply cannot comment on matters pertinent to an ongoing investigation,” she said. “Once we have that information to share, it will be made available.”

A further review of court and accident documents does still confirm that there have been no charges filed or arrests made in the case as of the Tuesday morning, November 27 printing of this publication.

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