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Four dead – including two police officers – in head-on collision

This news story was published on March 26, 2016.
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DES MOINES – A wrong-way driver on a busy Iowa interstate highway claimed the lives of four people, including 2 police officers.

Des Moines police report that on March 26, 2016, at approximately 12:40 AM, two Des Moines Police Department officers were killed in the line of duty.

The deaths occurred in a motor vehicle crash on Interstate 80 near the Waukee exit at mile marker 117. The officers were driving eastbound, returning a prisoner from Council Bluffs, IA to Des Moines when they were struck head on by a vehicle driving the wrong way on the interstate. The prisoner in the police vehicle, as well as the driver of the second vehicle, were also killed in the crash.

The officers killed this morning were Police Officer Carlos Puente Morales, 34 years old, and Police Officer Susan Farrell, 30 years old. Both were members of the 73rd Recruit Class, graduating from the Des Moines Regional Police Academy in October 2015.

The names of the wrong-way driver and the prisoner with the officers were not yet released.

Today, Gov. Terry E. Branstad released a statement after the crash.

“Our hearts are heavy this Easter weekend on the news of an early morning crash on Interstate 80,” said Branstad. “We’re learning that the crash took the lives of two young Des Moines police officers who dedicated their lives to protecting public safety and were killed in the line of duty. Chris and I wish to extend our sincere sympathies to the families of everyone impacted in this horrific accident.”

At 12:32AM, March 26, 2016, West Com Dispatch received a call of a car traveling the wrong way on I-80; a minute later they received another call that a crash had occurred involving that vehicle.

At 12:34AM, State Troopers were dispatched to the crash that happened in the eastbound lanes of I-80 at the 117 mile marker (Waukee exit).

The first trooper arrived on scene within minutes and advised that a car was fully engulfed in flames.
Troopers determined that this was a head-on crash involving a Ford Taurus and a Des Moines Police Department SUV.

The initial investigation indicates that the Des Moines Police Department SUV was traveling eastbound on I-80 in the inside lane and the Ford Taurus was traveling in the wrong direction (west-bound in the east-bound lanes) when it crashed into the Des Moines Police Department SUV. The Des Moines Police Department SUV came to rest in the median while the Ford Taurus came to rest on the interstate.

The driver of the Ford Taurus and three people in the Des Moines Police Department SUV were all pronounced dead at the scene.

The victims involved in this morning’s crash have been identified as: Des Moines Police Officer Carlos Puente-Morales, 34; and Des Moines Police Officer Susan Farrell, 30.

The prisoner being transported in the police vehicle involved in this crash has been identified as 32 year old Des Moines resident Tosha Nicole Hyatt.

The Iowa State Patrol Crash Reports website will have updated victim information as it becomes available.

Traffic was rerouted off of the interstate at the interchange for several hours in both directions after the crash and has since re-opened. Due to the time of the crash, interstate traffic was light and no major delays occurred.

The Iowa State Patrol is conducting a technical investigation of the crash scene and this crash is still under investigation.

All four deceased individuals were taken to the Iowa Office of the State Medical Examiner in Ankeny where autopsies will be performed this weekend. Autopsy results could take several weeks.

Several departments responded to the scene including the Iowa Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) Iowa State Patrol Division (ISP), Waukee Police Department, Waukee Fire Department, West Des Moines Fire Department, the Iowa Department of Transportation, the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office, the Dallas County Medical Examiner, assisted by the Iowa Office of the State Medical Examiner.

Officer Carlos Puente Morales

Officer Carlos Puente Morales

Officer Susan Farrell

Officer Susan Farrell

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9 Responses to Four dead – including two police officers – in head-on collision

  1. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 27, 2016 at 4:58 am

    still have never figured out if your driving on the interstate and see a car coming at you in the same lane why do they collide??

    • Avatar

      Foma Kiniaev Reply Report comment

      March 27, 2016 at 10:09 am

      At 100yds you have just 1.5sec to react. Closure rate, at speed, is roughly 191ft/sec. And you have to guess correctly what the other car was doing. Add to this, the Police Officers may have been trying to remove the car from the lane to protect others

      • Allen

        Allen Reply Report comment

        March 27, 2016 at 12:59 pm

        Weren’t you in one of the Bourne films.

  2. Avatar

    RIP Reply Report comment

    March 26, 2016 at 10:20 pm

    I wish the other names would have been mentioned, not only were police officers killed, but all four people who died had families as well.

  3. Avatar

    Peter L Reply Report comment

    March 26, 2016 at 10:06 pm

    So how about it loser. You ready to quit playing your games and come be a man? You want to meet somewhere? Nah, not your style right? You’re more like the ambushing type. A real sicko predator. Guess what sicko. I stay real alert about my surroundings. So if you get too close…

  4. Avatar

    Peter L Reply Report comment

    March 26, 2016 at 9:08 pm

    Ok that’s it. I’m out. F U Marquardt. You allow this asshole to hijack what I thought was my personal account in red letters? Or is this you doing this? You’re a disgusting POS editor with no morals or values. Your website represents the fall of humanity.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      March 27, 2016 at 12:21 am

      Your personal account???? Gee maybe if we all treated Matt like shit, publicly degrade him over and over and over again. Constantly put him down, and call him horrible names we could all have a personal account. What it appears to be is that Matt has put up with you for way too long, in an attempt to get you to stop acting like a raving lunatic. He gives you an inch, you take a mile. You are a pathetic leach to Matt. He’s a success, you can’t stand it. So instead of being grateful that he has allowed you to not only monopolize his site, but to continue to tear it down, you bitch and act like a spoiled child. Get over yourself Peter. You are nothing but a creep, leach, and a pathetic p.o.s. And get to Great Clips and have them do something with that mop of shit on your head. Or have you been banned from there also?

      • Avatar

        John Reply Report comment

        March 27, 2016 at 6:50 pm

        Thank you Matt for deleting Peter’s comment on this story. He won’t be gone but more of this kind of action will help by deleting his tasteless comments that provoke hate against Police. Again, I feel for the families of the officers, the prisoner and their families.

  5. Avatar

    John Reply Report comment

    March 26, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    Ignore Peter, my heart goes out for these police officers, the prisoner and the families they leave behind.