Police conduct extensive search for man believed to be injured in accident, find him with no apparent injuries

FAIRFIELD — Jefferson County law enforcement officers arrested a man Wednesday, Nov. 13, after conducting a thorough search for him the previous night, believing that he had been badly injured in a car accident.

Charles Lahr Jr., was charged with driving while license suspended, failure to maintain control, leaving the scene of an accident, failure to transfer title and failure to provide financial liability — accident related. The charges stem from an incident that occurred at 6:44 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12, when the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to an unknown injury in a motor vehicle rollover accident on Highway 34 at the 214 exit just east of Fairfield.

According to a news release from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, deputies arrived within four minutes of the call but could not locate the driver. The deputies investigated the accident and had the vehicle towed. In contacting the registered owner of the vehicle, the person told officers they had sold the car a few months prior but could not recall the person they sold it to.

Later that day at 7:57 p.m., Jefferson County Law Center dispatch received a phone call from a female advising that her uncle, Charles Lahr Jr., was the person driving the vehicle and that he was injured badly and needed medical attention. Deputies responded to the area once again and began a systematic search.

“Once back in the area and realizing that the search area was large, multiple law enforcement and fire departments were dispatched to the area,” the news release stated.

Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency responded, and incident command was established. After a thorough search lasting more than three hours on the ground, the Iowa State Patrol sent an aircraft from Marshalltown to the scene equipped with forward-looking infrared. With the foot and air search complete and no indications of a person lying in the area, the scene was secured at 12:30 a.m.

The following morning at 5:52 a.m., Nov. 13, Jefferson County deputies were dispatched to the Lockridge Post Office for a suspicious person in the lobby. Deputies interviewed the man and learned that he was Charles Lahr Jr., the one who had been involved in the car accident the night before. He had no apparent injuries.

Responding agencies were the Fairfield Police, Iowa State Patrol, Jefferson County Law Center dispatchers, fire departments from Fairfield, Packwood, Libertyville and Lockridge, Midwest Ambulance, and two civilians who heard the call and volunteered to help.