Three Dead In Shelby County Accident

By: Jake Wasikowski Email
By: Jake Wasikowski Email

Three people were killed in a multiple-vehicle accident south of Harlan, Iowa Wednesday morning.

Investigators have identified the victims as 68-year-old Sally Schwery and 71-year-old Bob Schwery of Panama, Iowa and 26-year-old Christina Cotant of Avoca, Iowa.

Doug and Randy Schwery, two of the couple's sons, said their parents were a retired farming couple who loved going on their annual trip to Texas.

"Probably numb just like now. I guess it really doesn't hit you. If there's any relief is that there's no pain, no suffering," Doug explained.

"That's the best thing, knowing that they went together because they just celebrated their 50th anniversary the 17th of this month," Randy described.

Police say a state trooper had a vehicle stopped in the southbound lane of Highway 59. The trooper's lights were on at the time. A car driven by Marcella Schwery came upon the scene and veered into the northbound lane to avoid the trooper. Instead, police say, Schwery crashed head-on into an SUV driven by Cotant.

Tina Cotant was on her way to work when the accident took her life. Her boyfriend's family says he was a kind hearted, loving person. They also said she was about to spend her first night in her new home near Avoca before the crash.

"Our hearts go out to the other victim also, and we wish their family the best," Doug Schwery said.

According to the police report, both women were wearing a seat belt, though Bob Schwery was not.

The crash closed U.S. 59, about one mile south of Harlan, for several hours. It reopened Wednesday afternoon.

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