Man accused of killing 2 people with a dump truck facing 20 years in prison - East Idaho News
Crime Watch

Man accused of killing 2 people with a dump truck facing 20 years in prison

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POCATELLO — A man accused of causing a crash on Interstate 15 in which two people died faces two felony charges.

Kenneth Dale Conley, 67, of Rexburg, has been charged with two counts of vehicular manslaughter, court records show.

The following information recounts the events surrounding the crash and the details of Conley’s arrest.

Kenneth Dale Conley
Kenneth Dale Conley | Bannock County Jail

Aug. 9

Idaho State Police received reports of a multi-vehicle crash on southbound Interstate 15, just north of Pocatello, around 2 p.m., according to an affidavit of probable cause.

When troopers arrived, they noted a passenger vehicle which had sustained serious damage. The car, a 1998 Toyota Avalon, was in the median, “crushed with significant damage to the whole vehicle,” one trooper wrote in a police report.

RELATED | ‘My whole car was demolished.’ Woman who survived a fatal I-15 crash recounts the incident.

Along with the Toyota, troopers noted another three vehicles that had sustained damage — including a Peterbilt dump truck.

Troopers determined the dump truck had driven over the top of the Toyota.

Troopers spoke with the occupants of two of the vehicles involved — a truck that was struck and sent into the median and a second truck, which was pulling a horse trailer. But all three occupants of the Toyota had already been transported to Portneuf Medical Center by air ambulance for emergency care.

The driver of the dump truck, reports show, was being taken to PMC by ground ambulance.

While some troopers remained at the crash site, investigating the crash and assisting with traffic, others went to PMC to question the people involved.

Upon arrival at PMC, troopers were informed that two of the three occupants in the Toyota — 23-year-old Jaren Goering and 27-year-old Monique Morales — had died.

RELATED | Names released after dump truck hits three vehicles, killing two people

The third occupant of the Toyota, 20-year-old Mariah Morales, spoke with troopers. She said she, Monique and Goering were driving and chatting, “the next thing she knew, they were hit from behind and Goering’s head was in her lap,” according to the affidavit.

Troopers then went to the room where Conley was receiving treatment.

Conley, who troopers noted was laying in a hospital bed wearing a neck brace, told troopers he was experiencing chest pain and believed he may have suffered a concussion.

Asked what he remembered, Conley told the troopers he could not remember much, just that he had been involved in a crash and that there was a horse trailer involved.

The troopers asked how the crash could have been avoided. Conley said, “I should have been going slower,” according to the affidavit.

Aug. 10

Troopers were informed they needed to look into Conley’s “habitual driving behaviors,” by an ISP senior specialist.

Following the lead, troopers spoke with office personnel at a St. Anthony-based construction company that had interacted with Conley. One of the people who spoke with troopers said they had been informed of “how bad” Conley’s driving was, but had never witnessed it firsthand. They gave the troopers contact information for people who would have better information. One of the people, the affidavit says, had an interaction with Conley the day of the crash.

Troopers spoke with workers at a construction site near where the crash occurred.

One of the people there told troopers Conley drove recklessly through the construction zone. The person said Conley would pull out of the construction site — in the median — cutting people off and nearly causing wrecks. They said Conley had been informed on more than one occasion that his driving was unsafe, but that he would “brush their suggestions off as if it didn’t matter,” the affidavit says.

Troopers then spoke with a person who offered additional details about Conley’s driving. That person said Conley would speed through construction sites and had hit truck scales on multiple occasions.

A third person said they had seen Conley cross multiple lanes of traffic, cutting people off, to gain access to the median. They said Conley does not watch his surroundings and is constantly changing trucks because “he keeps messing up other trucks.” They said Conley had nearly caused numerous crashes and they were worried Conley would kill someone.

Conley provides a statement

Troopers spoke with Conley, who had reportedly suffered a concussion and a cut to his head which required 12 stitches.

Conley said he had made approximately five roundtrips that day, delivering sand and gravel to the construction site. He said he was leaving the site, but that “traffic was going slower than he was wanting to,” when the crash occurred.

He told troopers that he still had limited recollection of the crash, just that he was changing lanes as he crested the hill. The next thing he remembered, according to the affidavit, was hitting the horse trailer.

Conley told troopers he does not consume alcohol, and had only taken drugs prescribed for blood pressure. He said that the drugs have never hindered his driving performance.

Aug. 15

Troopers spoke with Mariah about the crash.

She recalled the three occupants chatting and driving. Then, she said, her car was hit from behind. Mariah said she could not feel the impact but did recall feeling as if the car was shrinking.

She said she could hear the car being crushed as the truck rolled over the top of it, then she felt the car being “spit out” of the right lane, through the left lane and into the median, where it came to rest.

Mariah Morales, I15 crash
The vehicle occupied by Jaren Goering and Monique and Mariah Morales | Logan Ramsey,

Once the car stopped, Mariah told the troopers she saw Goering’s head with a “bad cut.” She then turned around and saw Monique, her sister, unconscious and barely breathing in the backseat. She told the trooper she began yelling for both Monique and Goering to wake up.

A man entered her car, she said, and rendered aid. She reached into the backseat and held Monique’s hand, she told the trooper.

When troopers arrived, she said, they quickly removed Goering and Monique from the car and began giving CPR. All three were taken to PMC by helicopter. While at PMC, Mariah was informed that both Goering and Monique had died.

Aug. 22

Troopers were informed that dashcam footage they had requested was no longer available.

The footage was initially requested on Aug. 10, but lapses in communication between the troopers and the company employing the truck driver lacked. The footage that was requested was from a truck that was behind the crash.

Police reports show, troopers called the company to request the footage eight time between Aug. 10 and Aug. 21. When a manager responded to the requests, he told troopers the footage had already been overwritten.

Troopers obtained a search warrant for medical records and toxicology results from Conley the day of the crash.

The affidavit does not indicate if those documents have been turned over to authorities.

Conley was arrested while in holding on a warrant out of Madison County. The warrant was issued when Conley did not appear in court for a misdemeanor charge of failing to remain at the scene of a crash.

That crash, court records show, occurred on Sept. 12 — more than a month after the fatality crash on I-15.

Conley is being held on a $25,000 bond in Bannock County.

Though Conley has been charged with these crimes, it does not necessarily mean he committed them. Everyone is presumed innocent until they are proven guilty.

If he is found guilty, Conley could face up to 20 years in prison.

He is scheduled to appear in court before Magistrate Judge Scott Axline for a preliminary hearing on Nov. 28.