MAQUOKETA, Iowa — A Maquoketa man faces up to a decade in prison after pleading guilty Friday to vehicular homicide.

Andy L. Ahrens, 22, pleaded guilty in Iowa District Court for Jackson County to one count of homicide by vehicle-reckless driving. As a result of the plea, a charge of homicide by vehicle-operating under the influence was dismissed.

The charge stems from a 2018 crash in which 20-year-old Alex R. Behr, of Sabula, was killed.


Since the charge is a Class C felony, Ahrens could face up to 10 years in prison and be required to pay $150,000 in restitution. Ahrens will be sentenced at 9 a.m. May 23.

According to court documents, Ahrens was driving on U.S. 52 about four miles south of Bellevue on Oct. 7, 2018, when his vehicle veered off the road. The SUV crashed into a tree.

During the plea hearing, Ahrens recalled the incident.

“I had a few drinks,” he said. “I lost control of the car and hit a tree. My passenger wasn’t wearing a seat belt and he unintentionally passed away.”

Behr was declared dead at the scene. Ahrens was injured and taken by ambulance to MercyOne Dubuque Medical Center for treatment.

According to court documents, officers at the scene reported a smell of alcohol coming from Ahrens. Authorities said that a blood draw revealed that his blood alcohol content at the time of the crash was 0.21%, more than twice the legal driving limit of 0.08%.

Prosecutors recommend incarceration, $150,000 in restitution to Behr’s family and the revocation of Ahrens’ ‘driver’s license for one year.

Ahrens’ defense team is seeking a suspended sentence, but agreed to the other terms sought by the state.

Susan Hess, Ahrens’ attorney, did not respond to messages seeking comment for this story.

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