Police: Suspect in fatal hit-and-run acted intentionally


A man charged with killing a Des Moines woman who was walking her dog was high on methamphetamine and intentionally hit her with his vehicle, police say in court documents.

Jason Sassman, 49, is charged with first-degree murder and animal neglect in the death of Lauren Rice, 38, and her dog on April 5.

Sassman was speeding when he drove his truck over a curb, severed a utility pole and drove through yards before hitting Rice and her dog, police said.

Sassman intentionally ran Rice over because he believed she was a criminal about to kill someone, police allege in a search warrant application, The Des Moines Register reported.

Sassman is being held at Polk County Jail on a $1 million bond.

While he was being interviewed, Sassman “continuously was having conversations with himself about various people believed to be after him or causing some sort of problem with him,” Des Moines Police Sgt. Nathan Nemmers wrote in a search warrant application.

Sassman has been on probation at least five times since 2007 for numerous charges such as burglary, assault, and drug crimes, according to Iowa Department of Corrections records.

It is not clear if Sassman knew Rice and Polk County Attorney John Sarcone would not discuss Sassman’s motives.