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The Des Moines Register

Driver who hit unidentified man on I-80 says the incident 'just keeps playing in my head'

By Noelle Alviz-Gransee, Des Moines Register,


Chris Dorf was going around 70 or 75 mph when he hit the man.

The only thing he saw before impact was the man's shorts. They were reflective, but he can't recall the exact color. Everything that followed was pure destruction as Dorf pulled over to figure out what happened.

"That whole instance just keeps playing in my head," he said.

According to the Iowa State Patrol accident report , an unidentified man ran into eastbound traffic on Interstate 80 near Second Avenue around 8:40 p.m. Saturday. After being hit by Dorf's vehicle, the man was thrown into the westbound lanes, where he was hit by two more vehicles.

More: Watch: Iowa DOT video shows scary moment when a car merging on I-380 causes a crash

A couple of witnesses pulled over and assisted Dorf's call to 911, helping in relaying their exact location.

"The only other thing going through my mind is, 'I hit that guy going 70+ miles per hour. If he's even conscious, he's not gonna walk away any time soon. At that point, I didn't know that a second vehicle had hit him. I thought he was still on the eastbound side of the highway thrown up against the divider wall."

Leading up to the accident, Dorf said no one was driving unusually or recklessly. There is a softball complex south of the eastbound lanes, but not much else nearby.

Dorf said he didn't know where the man came from or why he decided to run across the highway the way he did.

Afterward, he recalled waving a flashlight to oncoming traffic to get drivers to move over into the other lane. He recalled drivers not even slowing down and clearing the lane. Not even truckers.

"They just kept flying by at 70+ miles per hour," he said. "Even when there were lights flashing on the highway from police and EMS and fire and DOT, the only people that slowed down were the ones on the west side because they were being told to stop and hold."

Iowa law says if a driver is approaching a stationary vehicle displaying flashing lights, a driver must make a lane change to give it room. If making a lane change is not possible or unsafe, a driver is expected to reduce their speed to a "reasonable and proper speed for the existing road and traffic conditions."

Dorf took Sunday through Thursday off from work and will need to use a family car to get around. He said he has no idea how he will handle driving through that stretch of highway again.

Noelle Alviz-Gransee is a breaking news reporter at the Des Moines Register. Follow her on Twitter @NoelleHannika or email her at

This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Driver who hit unidentified man on I-80 says the incident 'just keeps playing in my head'

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