Wrong-way driver in crash that killed Des Moines cops was drunk, going 102 mph


The Iowa State Patrol has identified the driver who was going the wrong way on Interstate 80, leading to last month's crash that killed two Des Moines police officers.

Authorities say 25-year-old Benjamin E. Beary of Knoxville, Iowa, was headed west in an eastbound lane.


On March 26, officers Carlos Puente-Morales, 34, and Susan Farrell, 30, were in an SUV transporting a prisoner from Council Bluffs back to Des Moines when they were hit head-on by a vehicle on I-80 near the Waukee exit around 12:40 a.m.

Both officers and the prisoner in the police vehicle were killed in the fiery crash. Police identified the prisoner as Tosha Nicole Hyatt, 32, of Des Moines.

Beary also did not survive the crash.

Driver's "high level of impairment" led to the crash

Iowa State Patrol Technical Investigators say Beary merged onto I-80 at the Grand Prairie Parkway interchange driving westbound into the eastbound lanes of travel – authorities say this area of the interstate is "marked appropriately with signage and markings."

Beary's Ford Taurus was traveling approximately 102 mph at the time of impact, while the Des Moines Police unit was going about 79 mph, ISP said. The speed zone for that area of the interstate is 70 mph.

Investigators determined that there was no braking by either vehicle at the time of the crash. They believe that a small incline on the interstate prevented the officers from seeing the Taurus until just before impact.

The three occupants of the police vehicle died from multiple blunt force injuries, according to the Iowa Office of the State Medical Examiner.

Cause of death for Beary was due to multiple blunt force injuries, thermal injuries, and smoke inhalation.

Toxicology reports show that Beary had a blood-alcohol content of 0.223% and had recently used marijuana, the release says.

Investigators concluded that Beary's high level of impairment resulted in merging onto the road in the wrong direction.

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