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.

Next Up

Ian Cole

Wild trade Greg Pateryn to Avalanche for Ian Cole

Cole won a pair of Stanley Cups in Pittsburgh and is a former first-round pick.


St. Croix County GOP chair resigns after incendiary post on official website

John Kraft sparked controversy with his 'Prepare for War' post on the party website earlier this month.

ann kim

Ann Kim's new restaurant, Sooki & Mimi, to open in February

The James Beard Award winner is the brains behind Young Joni, Pizzeria Lola, and Hello Pizza.

Screen Shot 2021-01-19 at 1.32.19 PM

Firefighters rescue worker after trench fall in Rochester

The construction worker fell about 15 feet.

gray wolf

Grand Marais mayor's dog survives attack by wolves

He heard his 65-pound dog "screaming bloody murder" and then saw the wolves chasing her.

Screen Shot 2021-01-19 at 12.04.55 PM

Minnesota's COVID vaccine appointment site goes live

Huge demand was expected when the site went live at noon.

emily ford

Duluth woman is hiking 1,000-plus miles on the Ice Age Trail this winter

She could be the second person ever to finish a winter-thru hike of the Wisconsin trail.

coronavirus, covid-19, icu

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, January 19

Two days in a row with fewer than 1,000 new cases.

Screen Shot 2021-01-19 at 10.52.12 AM

After fire destroyed their house, couple forced to euthanize beloved dog

The couple's daughter has launched a fundraiser for her parents.

Screen Shot 2021-01-19 at 10.16.14 AM

Investigation after teacher accused of lewd act during distance learning

No charges have been filed yet and the staff member has not been identified.


Charges: Driver was going 80 mph before crash that killed two high school students

Authorities say she was going up to 82 mph in a 50 mph zone.

1 person killed in wrong-way crash on troublesome Highway 12

One person was killed in a three-vehicle wrong-way crash on Highway 12.

Suspected drunk driver arrested in deadly motorcycle crash

A 42-year-old woman is behind bars awaiting possible charges after the sport utility vehicle she was driving collided with a motorcycle Sunday night in Anoka County. Investigators tell the Star Tribune the woman appeared to be intoxicated when she hit and killed both riders on the motorcycle. A 48-year-old man from St. Francis and a 46-year-old woman from Big Lake died at the scene.