By Nick Pedley
News Editor 

Hartley teen killed in car accident


March 21, 2024

The Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn community is mourning the death of one of its students following a single-vehicle accident Wednesday, March 20.

According to the Iowa State Patrol, Joshua Cruz, 16, of Hartley, was driving his 2000 Honda Accord eastbound on 300th Street when it left the roadway and struck an embankment on Waterman Creek. The accident report noted Cruz was not wearing a seatbelt and suffered a fatal injury during the crash.

The accident occurred around three miles northwest of Hartley at approximately 8:30 a.m. The Iowa State Patrol, O'Brien County Sheriff's Office, Hartley ambulance and Iowa Department of Natural Resources assisted at the scene.

Cruz was sophomore at H-M-S High School. He was involved in several activities, including football, basketball, baseball and track.

H-M-S administrators released a joint statement regarding the tragedy on Wednesday night.

"It is with deep regret that we inform you about a recent loss to our high school community. This loss is sure to raise many emotions, concerns, and questions for our entire school, especially our students.

"At our school, we have counselors and clergy available for any student who may need or want help or any type of assistance surrounding this loss. We encourage you, as parents, to also feel free to use our resources.

"We are saddened by the loss to our school community and will make every effort to help you and your child as you need. If you would like additional assistance, please do not hesitate to contact district administration."

Funeral services for Cruz are pending with the Hartley Funeral Home. Details will be posted to its website once they are finalized.


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