The last moments of Matthew Lentzkow's life played out in a squad car.
The 36 year old was pulled over by a State Trooper in Jasper County on Nov. 1, suspected of driving drunk. After the trooper performed a field sobriety test, Lentzkow was handcuffed with his hands behind his back, and buckled into the front seat of the car.
Then, dash cam video shows he made an escape attempt — squirming to reach the door, opening it, and running.
On the tape, troopers yell for him to stop, but he heads out onto Interstate 80, and is struck by a car.
He was killed.
“The individual made the decision to unbuckle the seatbelt and try to escape,” said Sgt. Scott Bright with the Iowa State Patrol. “He ended up making the ultimate sacrifice.”
Lentzkow was born in Cedar Falls, and grew up in LaPorte City and Colfax, according to his obituary. His father, Gary, lives in Newton, but his mother Pat lives in Waterloo. Both believe authorities should have done more to prevent their son's death. Both declined to do on-camera interviews, at the advice of their lawyer.
Lentzkow's father said he thinks his son should have been locked in the back of the squad car.
“It was just stupid,” he said by phone.
However, the State Patrol says the trooper followed protocol by buckling a detainee in. State Patrol cars in Iowa do not have backseat cages like most local police cars. Officials say it's because the State Patrol vehicles are too small, and troopers have too much gear to carry.
“The trooper did everything right,” Bright said. “He made the arrest. He put the individual in handcuffs behind his back and put his seat belt on him.”
Troopers often place prisoners in the front seat, so they see and respond to any sudden movements.
Bright said it's common for other states' patrol cars to be outfitted without backseat cages.