Iowa mother calls for DOT action after losing daughter in fatal crash

Local News

A young Iowa woman was killed over Thanksgiving weekend while visiting her family in eastern Iowa.

Baylee Hess, a 26-year-old from La Porte City who spent time as a fitness coach in Des Moines, died November 30 in a car crash.

It happened at Highway-30 and 21st Avenue near Van Horne.

Iowa State Patrol said Hess failed to stop and crossed under a trailer, landing in a ditch.

Now, her mother Dawn, is calling for action. She said there needs to be better signs at that intersection and other dangerous rural intersections across our state.

“She had an infectious laugh. She was always smiling,” Baylee’s mother Dawn Hess said.

Hess said Baylee wasn’t used to driving that area, and she may not have known that there was a stop sign coming up.

“There’s no speed bumps to warn anybody that there’s a stop sign so there’s no way for someone that’s not used to that roadside to know.”

Hess now hopes the DOT will take a closer look at that intersection and others across rural Iowa where signage, lighting or rumble strips might not be adequate to warn people of upcoming stops.

Andrea Henry, communications specialist with the Iowa DOT says citizens can let them know about dangerous areas, and they can conduct “rural road assessments.”

“If we have a major incident like the one that has happened recently and then we have a lot reports of close calls, we will go out and take a special look at that intersection to see if there is anything we could do to improve safety,” said Henry.

Dawn says the intersection where Baylee passed away was a known trouble spot. When she went to place a cross where Baylee died, she noticed other crosses at that same intersection.

“I’ve heard people say, ‘oh it’s that intersection’,” Dawn said.

As Dawn waits for change, she hopes as Christmas approaches that drivers continue to be more careful.

“If you have the relatives you’re going to see, maybe reach out to them and ask if there’s certain routes that they need to watch out for and pay attention to before they do travel. So that they do get to their destination safe. That would be Baylee’s wish also, to make sure that no one else gets hurt or killed.”

If you’d like to reach out to the DOT to let them know about a problem intersection, you can do so here.

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