Iowa State Patrol releases information regarding cause of October 14 accident that claimed the life of Trooper Ted Benda

The Iowa State Patrol has released information regarding the October 14 single-vehicle crash that claimed the life of Waukon native and Iowa State Patrol Trooper Ted Benda, age 37. The report indicates that Trooper Benda swerved to miss a deer and could not regain control of his vehicle, resulting in the crash that critically injured him and ultimately claimed his life October 20.

The report shared Friday, November 12 by the Iowa State Patrol says that a deer ran on to the roadway from the west in front of Trooper Benda’s Dodge Charger patrol car as he was traveling southbound on State Highway 51 about six miles north of Postville around 11:30 p.m. that mid-October night. The report further explains that Trooper Benda took evasive driving action to avoid the deer but his vehicle lost traction, entering the roadway ditch to the east, hitting an embankment on the driver side and rolling before coming to rest on the vehicle’s driver side.

Trooper Benda was reported as traveling at a high rate of speed at the time of the accident while responding to a call to assist Clayton County authorities with a wanted male subject. The Iowa State Patrol says the accident continues to remain under investigation by its Technical Collision Investigation Unit to determine the speed at which Trooper Benda was traveling during the time of the accident.

Benda was extricated from the crashed vehicle and was airlifted to Gundersen Lutheran Hospital in La Crosse, WI, where he remained a patient until succumbing to his injuries Wednesday, October 20. Even in his passing, Trooper Benda continued to serve others, as he was an organ donor whose ultimate sacrifice ended up giving new life to others in need.

Trooper Benda was honored at a Wednesday, October 27 funeral service at Waukon High School, where he had graduated from in 2002. After completing a Criminal Justice degree from Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo, he joined the 31st Basic Academy in December 2005 and was assigned to the Special Enforcement Operations Bureau with the Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) in Marquette.

In 2016, he transferred to the Iowa State Patrol District #8 in Mason City, and in June of 2017, Trooper Benda then transferred to Patrol District #10 in Oelwein. That transfer allowed him and his family to move back to the northeast Iowa area where he grew up, the family residing in rural Decorah at the time of the accident.

Trooper Benda’s family includes his wife, Holly, and their four daughters, Madilyn, age 11; Avery, age 8; Vivyan, age 3; and Sylvia, two months old. He is also survived by his parents, Lawrence and Marsha Benda of Waukon, and three brothers, Tom, Tim and Travis.
Sergeant Alex Dinkla, Iowa State Patrol Public Information Officer, shared that the Iowa Department of Public Safety continues to support Trooper Benda’s family through the aftermath of the accident and his passing. A memorial fund has been established at FreedomBank in Waukon.