Police department mourns the loss of officer - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Police department mourns the loss of officer

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A community is mourning the loss of their beloved police officer after a fatal car crash this weekend.

40-year-old Mitchell Kelchen, an Anamosa police officer, was killed in a crash in Jackson County. It happened near Highway 62 and 167th Street before 8:00 Saturday morning.

Mitch's wife, Tina was driving and he was the passenger, when someone crossed the center line and hit them head-on.

The Anamosa police chief says the woman driving the car that hit the Kelchen's may have fallen asleep. The accident killed a police officer and badly hurt both drivers.

Today Mitch's police car is sitting outside of the Anamosa Police Department draped with the thin blue line, honoring Officer Kelchen.

"He certainly will be sorely missed," said Chief Robert Simonson, Anamosa Police Department.

Chief Simonson says Kelchen and his wife Tina were on their way to their daughter's volleyball game, when they were hit head-on.

"She drifted across the road at the corner and the two cars collided head-on," said Chief Simonson, describing the crash. "There was no time for any braking...one man that lives right at the corner said there was no braking, there was no screech of tires, there was just a huge bang."

Chief Simonson says Mitch had just gotten done working the over night shift when he and his wife were heading toward Muscatine.

"Tina his wife was driving, he was kind of sprawled out, laid out in the passenger's seat, I am not sure if he woke up or not," said Chief Simonson.

The news of Mitch's death has shaken the community of Anamosa and the police department. The police chief says everyone is still in shock.

"The sheriff called me and basically said, 'I have horrible news', and it was a shock," said Chief Simonson. "When I talked to the rest of my officers it was the same shock, I didn't have to be there to see the look in their eyes, the look in their eyes was probably the same look I had, disbelief...just unbelievable."

Chief Simonson says Officer Kelchen will be missed by the whole town.

"Mitch strangely enough is the type that if something bad happened it was, 'go on go on' and move on with life," said Chief Simonson. "I would hope that would be the attitude that he engrained in her this whole time they were married, you can't sit there and dwell on this for the rest of your life."

Chief Simonson says Mitch's wife Tina will be in the hospital for a few days with some broken bones. Mitch leaves behind family, friends and four children.

At last check the driver who cross the center line is in serious condition.

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