Crime in Iowa

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Annamarie Rittman


Annamarie Rittman,46, was walking into the Altoona Lowes in the early cold morning of December 27,2005. She never made it inside. When she was found around 6 a.m. it was assumed that she had fallen on the ice but when the police arrived it was determined that she had been hit by a vehicle and was struck from behind. She later died after arriving at the hospital.

Mrs. Rittman was the mother of three.

After reviewing the store videotape it was found that she had been hit by a red four-door Ford truck. Efforts were made to analyze the video tape in an attempt to read the license plate on the truck, which proved difficult. The police also followed up on tips that were phoned in.

By January 11th there was a $4,500 award offered for any information leading to the truck or its driver. Later it was increased to $11,500. By January 17th the police had found the truck that they believe was involved. The truck was impounded while they tried to figure out who was driving the truck.

Yesterday an arrest was finally made. Justin Andrew Pollard of Altoona is charged with first degree murder and held on $250,000 cash bond. It surprised many that the charge would be 1st degree which implies intent. The Iowa Code states that first degree murder is an act done "willfully, deliberately and with premeditation". Apparently the video tape showed enough to prove that it was an intentional act. It was also determined that Pollard and Rittman did not know each other. Mr Pollard was arrested at his job and has made no statements.

Brian Rittman, Annamarie's husband was quoted as saying
"Isn't that something, to be premeditated? To have that going through his mind and thinking, 'Oh, I'm going to run this woman over,' and not knowing who in the hell she was. Just devastating,"

Special Agent John Quinn of the Iowa DCI says Pollard intentionally hit the woman and then left the scene. Authorities claim that he used his truck as a weapon to kill Rittman as she walked into work.

Mr. Pollard is an Iraq War Veteran and new father. He served with the U.S. Army Reserve 339th Military Police company based in Davenport. He married Emily White last summer and their daughter was born in early December 2005.

As of this writing Pollard has pleaded not guilty.

Its reported that Iowa has one of the weakest laws regarding hit and run accidents. There is currently movement in the Iowa legislature to strengthen penalites. The proposal would make it a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $7,500 fine for fleeing an accident where a death is involved.

UPDATE 3/14/06
New developments include an eye witness that says he saw a red truck driving around the Lowe's lot several times during the weeks before Rittman was killed. Also Pollard says he clocked into work that day at 5:31 am. Rittman was found at 6:05 am and its speculated she lay there for approximately 40 minutes. The reason for the murder charge is that the Police think the driver had to turn around to hit Rittman from behind. Pollards wife says the dent in the truck happened about a week after the vehicle was purchased in June and that he was never at the accident scene.

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