Charges filed for three traffic violations following accident investigation involving husband of County Attorney

Charges have now been filed following further investigation into a November 13 single-vehicle accident involving Christopher Mirich, age 38, of Waukon, husband of Allamakee County Attorney Jill Kistler, and execution the following day of search warrants by Iowa State Patrol officers at the couple’s home and Mirich’s place of employment first reported in the November 21 issue of The Standard.

According to court documents filed by the Iowa State Patrol December 11 and 12, Mirich is being charged with three traffic violations in regard to that November 13 accident. Those charges include Failure to Maintain Control, Failure to Report an Accident Involving Injury and Open Container-Driver 21 Years Old and Older. No other charges have been filed, according to a further court document search.

An affidavit filed among the court documents in the case provided further details of the November 13 crash and ensuing investigation taken on by the Iowa State Patrol according to local protocol since it did involve a family member of the County Attorney. In addition to details already relayed in the Iowa State Patrol accident report that explained that Mirich’s pick-up truck 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, the affidavit confirmed that although the truck was unoccupied and nobody was found near the vehicle, Mirich’s wife had confirmed with authorities that Mirich was the driver of the vehicle when she called the Allamakee County Sheriff’s Office to report the accident. The affidavit also indicated several open and empty cans of beer were found both in the cab and in the bed of the truck by responding officers, along with beer spilled throughout the truck’s driver’s side compartment and blood observed on the inside of the driver’s side window, on the passenger side of the center console, on the outside of the driver’s side door and on the headliner of the truck’s interior.

The November 14 further investigation and search warrant execution in conjunction with the accident resulted in the seizure of two cell phones belonging to Mirich, which the affidavit reveals were then analyzed to determine that Mirich, indeed, was in the area of the accident scene around the time of the incident. That phone analysis also determined that Mirich made or attempted to make about 20 phone calls to his wife and another number within approximately an hour’s time prior to Mirich’s wife calling the Allamakee County Sheriff’s Office to report the accident. Neither phone showed any attempt by Mirich to contact law enforcement after the crash, according to the affidavit.

That affidavit also explains that Mirich was interviewed by Iowa State Patrol officers during the November 14 search of his home, with Mirich admitting to authorities during that interview that he had driven and crashed his truck the night before, that he had not notified law enforcement of the crash, that he was not sure if anyone else had notified law enforcement about the crash, and that the injuries observed by officers during the interview were a result of the accident. Those injuries included a large bruise and swelling in his forehead area, large bruises on both of his knees and dried blood surrounding a cut on one of his legs. He was also wearing an orange t-shirt with blood stains that he admitted he had been wearing the night of the accident.

A hearing on all three charges has been scheduled for Wednesday, January 2 in the Iowa District Court for Allamakee County. In order to avoid any conflict of interest or appearance of impropriety in the case involving her husband, Allamakee County Attorney Jill Kistler has filed a motion to have Assistant Winneshiek County Attorney Barrett Gipp serve as the prosecutor for the State of Iowa in the case.

Kistler’s tenure as Allamakee County Attorney ends at the completion of this calendar year, as she did not seek re-election to the position in this year’s General Election held November 6. The Iowa State Patrol would not comment any further regarding the case in light of the upcoming hearing.

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