DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Iowa Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) Iowa State Patrol (ISP) has completed an extensive investigation surrounding the circumstances into the four person vehicle fatality crash that occurred on I-80 near the Waukee exit in the early morning hours of Saturday, March 26, 2016.
The driver of the Ford Taurus, Benjamin E. Beary, 25, Knoxville was driving westbound in the eastbound lanes of I-80 when his vehicle collided head-on with a Des Moines Police Department transport SUV at approximately 12:32 a.m.
- The Ford Taurus, driven by Mr. Beary was traveling at a speed of approximately 102 mph at the time of impact.
- The Des Moines Police unit was traveling at a speed of approximately 79 mph at the time of impact.
- Speed zone for this particular area of the interstate is 70 mph.
- Iowa State Patrol Technical Investigators determined that at the time of the crash, there was no braking by either vehicle. The crash occurred just beyond the crest of a small incline and is the investigators’ conclusion that the Des Moines officers could not see the Ford Taurus until just before impact.
- The Iowa Office of the State Medical Examiner concluded that the 3 occupants in the Des Moines Police unit died from multiple blunt force injuries. The cause of death for Mr. Beary was determined to be from multiple blunt force injuries, thermal injuries, and smoke inhalation.
- Toxicology reports indicated that Mr. Beary’s blood alcohol concentration at the time of the crash was 0.223%. This report also showed recent use of marijuana by Mr. Beary.
- Toxicology reports for the Des Moines officers were negative for alcohol and common illicit or prescription drugs. - Based upon the investigation, the Iowa State Patrol’s Technical Investigator(s) concluded that Mr. Beary merged onto I-80 at the Grand Prairie Parkway interchange driving westbound into the eastbound lanes of travel. This interchange is marked appropriately with signage and markings. The investigators concluded that Mr. Beary’s high level of impairment resulted in him driving the wrong way on the interstate.
Previous March 26 News Release:
Iowa State Patrol Investigates Multi-Fatal Crash
DES MOINES, Iowa – The Iowa Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) Iowa State Patrol (ISP) is investigating a multiple fatality crash that happened early this morning.
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 names of the driver of the Ford Taurus and the prisoner being transported by the Des Moines Police Department are being withheld until family have been notified and positive identification is made.
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.
Iowa DPS Statement:
"On behalf of the Iowa Department of Public Safety and the Iowa State Patrol, I want to extend our heartfelt sympathies to the families of the individuals involved in this crash, to Chief Dana Wingert and the men and women of the Des Moines Police Department, and to the city of Des Moines. Please keep everyone in your thoughts and prayers and respect their privacy during this difficult time," said Iowa State Patrol Colonel Michael VanBerkum.