Mistrial declared in Ward case

A federal judge declared a mistrial in the case against former Ottumwa Transit Director Pam Ward Monday afternoon in Des Moines.

Online court records indicate that jurors sent a note to the court at 12:35 p.m., saying, "Despite our best efforts, we have firmly entrenched decisions on both sides of the verdict that we cannot overcome, Please provide further instructions and advice."

Judge James E. Gritzner then brought jurors into the courtroom, polled them and then declared a mistrial.

The record doesn't indicate at this time if and when Ward will be retried.

Ward is facing four charges that she lied to U.S. Department of Transportation officials about ridership counts on OTA buses to secure additional federal funds for the transportation agency.

Ward's defense maintained that she used common industry practices to estimate ridership numbers in lieu of accurate counts from OTA drivers.