Police Officer Susan Farrell
Des Moines Police Department, Iowa
End of Watch: Saturday, March 26, 2016
Tour of Duty: 5 months
Badge Number: Not available
Cause of Death: Automobile accident
Date of Incident: March 26, 2016
Weapon Used: Not available
Suspect Info: Not available
Agency Contact Information
Chief of Police Dana Wingert
Des Moines Police Department
25 East 1st Street
Des Moines, IA 50309
Phone: (515) 283-4084
Police Officer Susan Farrell and Police Officer Carlos Puente-Morales were killed when their patrol car was struck head-on by a wrong way driver on I-80, at mile marker 117.
They were transporting a prisoner from Council Bluffs back to Des Moines when the crash occurred. Both officers, the prisoner, and the driver of the wrong way vehicle were killed.
Officer Farrell had served with the Des Moines Police Department for only five months and had previously served with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office for several years.
WAUKEE, Iowa —Two Des Moines Police officers were killed in the line of duty Saturday morning while transporting a prisoner.
The prisoner and the driver of the second vehicle involved were also killed.
The crash happened on Interstate 80 near the Waukee exit at mile marker 117 around 12:40 a.m.
Des Moines Police Public Information Information Officer Sgt. Paul Parizek said the officers were driving eastbound, returning a prisoner from Council Bluffs to Des Moines when they were struck head on by a vehicle driving the wrong way on the interstate.
"It was a horrific accident, probably one of the worse I’ve seen," Parizek said.
The crash is being investigated by the Iowa State Patrol.
Police said this is the first time since 2007 that a Des Moines officer has died in a car crash.
Police said Officer Susan Farrell, 30, and Officer Carlos Puente-Morales, 34, died in the crash. The prisoner has been identified as 32-year-old Tosha Nicole Hyatt, of Des Moines,
Des Moines Police said the name of the other driver killed in this crash is being withheld pending notification of their families.
Both officers had just graduated from the police academy in October of 2015. The officers were transporting Hyatt, who was wanted on charges for domestic abuse by strangulation in Des Moines.
Police told KCCI it’s not unusual to transport inmates to and from Council Bluffs in the middle of the night.
Parizek said Farrell worked for Polk County Sheriff’s Office for years before joining the Des Moines Police Department.
Puente-Morales was an officer in Ottumwa before working for Des Moines police. He was a member of the Iowa National Guard.
Parizek said both officers were, "very well respected and committed to community service."
"We went to bed last night, and I think there were 26 officers killed in the line of duty so far this year. Now, there are 28, and the last two belong to us," he said.
Please keep the Des Moines Police Department and the families of the victims in your thoughts and prayers in the coming days," said Des Moines police Chief Dana Wingert, holding back tears. "We will rally together as a family to get through this. Obviously, this is a very sad day for the Des Moines Police Department as we face a nightmare that no agency ever wants to experience."
Winger called the fallen officers heroes.
Dozens of people have stopped by the police station to place flowers on a squad car in memory of the victims. Police have draped a sash on the car and another above the front doors to honor their fallen friends.
Gov. Terry E. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds released the following statements after an early morning vehicle crash on Interstate 80 involving two Des Moines police officers:
“Our hearts are heavy this Easter weekend on the news of an early morning crash on Interstate 80,” said Branstad. “We’re learning that the crash took the lives of two young Des Moines police officers who dedicated their lives to protecting public safety and were killed in the line of duty. Chris and I wish to extend our sincere sympathies to the families of everyone impacted in this horrific accident.”
Lt. Gov. Reynolds added, “I’m heartbroken to hear this morning of a tragic vehicle crash involving two fallen police officers from the Des Moines Police Department. On this celebration of Easter, it’s very difficult to comprehend how young lives can be taken so quickly. Kevin and I wish to extend our thoughts and prayers to all of the families affected by this terrible crash.”
Gov. Branstad will issue a statement later in the week on lowering flags to half-staff.
Attorney General Tom Miller said, ""My prayers and condolences go to the families and friends of Des Moines Police Officers Susan Farrell and Carlos Puente-Morales, as well as to all of the men and women of the Des Moines Police Department. These two officers lost their lives while protecting and serving us all. We are grateful for their service and sacrifice, and for all officers who bravely and selflessly put their lives on the line every day and night to keep us safe. We honor these two officers and mourn their tragic loss."