A Birmingham woman was charged with vehicular homicide - operating under the influence after she allegedly drove her vehicle into the Des Moines River Jan. 4, and a passenger in her vehicle was later found dead.
Paris Wahl Bickham, 22, of Birmingham, was charged June 17 by the Iowa State Patrol. The state patrol alleged that Bickham unlawfully and unintentionally caused the death of Gavin McKay Hannah, 22, of Memphis, Missouri, and formerly of Fairfield, by operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, a class B felony.
The affidavit alleges that at approximately 11:43 p.m. on Jan. 4, Bickham was operating her 2012 Chevrolet Malibu westbound on 215th Street, near Keosauqua. She allegedly failed to turn left onto Juniper Trail and traveled down a boat ramp into the Des Moines River.
The Malibu, the patrol states, became fully submerged in the water. As a result of this crash, the body of Gavin Hannah, who was riding in the front seat, was later recovered from the Des Moines River, according to the affidavit. Bickham’s blood alcohol was documented above the legal limit of .08, the patrol alleged. She allegedly admitted to driving at the time of the accident.
A warrant was issued June 17 for her arrest. Bickham was arrested and posted $25,000 bond on June 19. Bickham pleaded not guilty and waived her initial preliminary hearing. At the request of the Van Buren County Attorney, Assistant Attorney General Andrew B. Prosser appeared on behalf of the state of Iowa.