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.
Based on the investigation of the scene and an examination of the vehicles, the investigators made the following findings about the crash.
- 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.
Sergeant Nathan Ludwig, Iowa State Patrol Public Information Officer, (515) 745-2863.
Andrea Henry, Iowa DOT at (515) 239-1730 or by email at Andrea.Henry@dot.iowa.gov