DES MOINES- Police have released the name of the fourth victim in Saturday’s head-on collision that killed four people, including two Des Moines police officers.
Police say 25-year-old Benjamin Beary, of Knoxville, was driving the wrong direction on Interstate 80 when he hit head-on with a Des Moines Police squad car.
Officers Carlos Puente-Morales and Officer Susan Farrell were killed, as well as the transporting prisoner, Tosha Hyatt.
Hyatt was being routinely transported back to Polk County Jail and was a mother of four.
Monday morning, dark drapes and decorated wreaths line Des Moines Police headquarters.
In the front lawn, a squad car covered in flowers and signs in memory of the two officers.
“It’s been absolutely overwhelming and mind-blowing at things people are offering to do, the donations to the family, just the showing of support at the police station. We’re getting phone calls and letters from all over the nation,” said Des Moines Police Sgt. Paul Parizek, wiping tears from his eyes.
Officer Puente-Morales was a father and member of the Iowa National Guard. He had served as a police officer in Ottumwa prior to working in Des Moines.
Officer Farrell was a mother of a two-year-old girl and a former police woman for Pleasant Hill for seven years.
Both officers graduated from the same recruiting class in October of 2015 and had worked less than five months on the job for Des Moines Police.
Coworkers to Puente-Morales and Farrell say the last two days have been the most difficult they’ve faced in a long time.
“We keep thinking, you know, about what we can do to help the families. Everyone helping us, it’s very heartwarming but we wait for it to get better and it’s not. We’ll get through it, but it just keeps hurting,” said Sgt. Parizek. “We know the technical investigation of the crash will take some time. We want answers, we lost our friends and we know it’ll take time. We want it done right and the first time.”
Police have not released Beary’s toxicology reports and say they may take weeks to come back with answers.
The Beary family attorney released a statement to Local 5 News saying, in part:
“The family of 25-year-old Ben Beary is grieving his death and we extend our deepest sympathy to the families of the three other people whose precious lives were lost in the horrible crash early Saturday morning on Interstate 80… We know Ben was watching basketball games Friday night with friends and that he would never intentionally cause this pain. We hope police piece together what happened next. But whatever information they find will not diminish the pain we feel at losing Ben at a young age. Nor will it lessen the grief for the families of Susan Farrell, Carlos Puente-Morales and Tosha Nicole Hyatt.”
Susan Farrell’s visitation will be from 4-7 p.m. Tuesday at Lutheran Church of Hope. Her funeral services will be Wednesday at 11 a.m. also at Lutheran Church of Hope, with burial following at Highland Memory Gardens Cemetery.
Des Moines Police say Puente-Morales services are still being coordinated with family but he will be honored by both police and military.
There are two memorial accounts set up for both officers at Des Moines Police Credit Union, with the help of the Police Burial Association. CEO Andy Foegle said they have been accepting donations from across the country.
Donations are accepted in cash, check, and debit or credit form via in person or on the phone. The office is located at 423 East Court Avenue in Des Moines.