WATERLOO – A Tama man died after he was struck Saturday night by a passing semi on Highway 20.

According to a preliminary accident report, 53-year-old Richard James Murphy was walking in the area of the Highway 20/Interstate 380/Highway 218 interchange near mile marker 71 about 7:50 p.m. Saturday when he was struck.

The semi driver, Kent Ridlon, 53, of Klemme, told police he had been looking at his GPS device because he was nearing the end of his hours. When he looked up, he saw something dark in the roadway and swerved and stepped on the brakes but struck the object, the report states.

He initially thought he had struck a deer and pulled over when he was in a safe location. He called 911 after failing to find deer fur on his vehicle, and police found Murphy unconscious a short time later, the report states.

Paramedics with Waterloo Fire Rescue took Murphy Covenant Medical Center, and he was later transported to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City where he later died. Police said he had severe injuries.

It wasn’t clear what Murphy was doing along the highway, Waterloo Police Capt. David Mohlis said.

The report noted the accident happened after dark, and the area has lights. But the report states the light in the area isn’t sufficient.

The accident remains under investigation.


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