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Davenport man who crashed SUV into Mississippi River, killing a man had previous convictions

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DAVENPORT — Joshua Scott Peters, 36, of Davenport, who allegedly crashed a stolen SUV into the Mississippi River, killing an elderly man with disabilities, had recently been released from jail and served time after pleading guilty to a charge of voluntary absence from custody.

According to court documents, Peters pleaded guilty in Scott County Court to voluntary absence from custody — walking away from the Davenport Residential Corrections Facility — on June 2, 2021. He was sentenced to 365 days in the Scott County Jail with credit for time served, but probation was denied. Davenport Residential Corrections Facility placed him on escape status on April 12, 2021. An arrest warrant was issued and served on April 14, 2021.

This was not the first time Peters was a fugitive. The court records show Rock Island County listed him as a fugitive on Aug. 31, 2020, but Illinois declined to extradite him and the case was closed.

Peters was charged with a parole violation on Feb. 10, 2021. He was discharged from the Center for Alcohol and Drug Services on Dec. 29, 2020, and failed to give his parole officer his forwarding address, and failed to report Bettendorf Police Department gave him notice to appear in court. The last entry in the file was March 1, 2021, when a lawyer was appointed to represent him.

Peters has been cited repeatedly for driving while barred, with the latest being April 13, 2021, and given notice of past due court fines and costs on Aug. 1, 2021. He owes Scott County $983.25.

His criminal record in Iowa dates back to 2003, according to court documents.

He was arrested by the Muscatine County Sheriff’s office on April 22, charged with homicide by vehicle — operating under the influence, a Class B felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison; leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death, a Class D felony punishable by up to five years in prison; first-degree theft, a Class C felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison; and driving while barred.

The Muscatine County Sheriff’s Department said deputies responded to Fairport State Recreation Area, 3284 Highway 22, for a missing person and stolen vehicle report. Deputies had been to the campground earlier in the evening for a disturbance they were unable to locate. Deputies met with the wife and daughter of William A. Talbot, 71, of Davenport, who reported their blue 2016 Chevrolet Equinox had been stolen with Talbot inside. The family claimed they didn't know who stole the vehicle, but deputies learned Peters and the Talbots arrived together at the campground the previous evening and Peters ingested meth after arriving.

Peters and several unidentified people were involved in an altercation later in the evening, according to the Sheriff's Department. Peters fled in the SUV, and Talbot was unable to escape from the vehicle. Peters drove erratically at a high rate of speed, leaving the roadway and striking a road sign before driving about 255 feet off the roadway into the Mississippi River. Peters escaped the sinking vehicle, Talbot did not, according to the law enforcement reports. Talbot’s body inside was recovered in the SUV by Muscatine County Search and Rescue later that morning.

As deputies interviewed Talbot’s wife and daughter, they received a report of homeowners holding a man, later identified as Peters, at gunpoint in Montpelier.

Peters admitted to using meth.

Attorney Miguel Puentes later withdrew as Peters’ appointed defense attorney, citing a temporary overload in cases. On April 22, attorney Jeff Powell was appointed to represent Peters. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday unless Peters waives the hearing or the county attorney files trial information. He remains in the Muscatine County Jail in lieu of a $500,000 cash-only bond.


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