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March 26, 2016  

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.

The Iowa Department of Public Safety's (DPS) Iowa State Patrol Division (ISP) will have no further comment on this investigation at this time, as this investigation is on-going. Any further release of information will be issued via a press release in conjunction with the Des Moines Police Department.

Note: A criminal charge is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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