DES MOINES, Iowa — Weather may be to blame for a head-on collision that took the lives of two sisters and sent another family member to the hospital Sunday morning.
The crash happened in the southbound lanes at the 2900 block of 6th Avenue shortly before 5 a.m. According to the preliminary investigation, a northbound Toyota passenger car crossed into the southbound lanes and collided with a southbound Jeep SUV.
Investigators say the two sisters who died in the crash are 22-year-old Jazmin Alondra Avila-Arreola and 18-year-old Daizy Sofia Arreola. Both were from Des Moines. Police say Jazmin was the driver of the Toyota passenger car and Daizy was one of the two passengers. The second passenger, a cousin of the two sisters, remains hospitalized in critical condition.
Police identified the driver of the Jeep SUV as 44-year-old Des Moines resident Balmore Antonio Funes. A passenger in his vehicle remains hospitalized in stable condition. According to police, Funes was treated for minor injuries and later arrested on a Polk County warrant unrelated to the crash investigation.
“Any time we have a crash like this, it is hard. This one is going to be even harder because we’ve got two sisters that are dead and another family member in critical condition, so I think the community’s hearts are going to go out for that,” said Des Moines Police Sgt. Paul Parizek. “This is one of those weather episodes that snuck up on us. I don’t think anyone expected to wake up and see snow, so driving in it you’ve got to make adjustments pretty quickly because before crews have a chance to treat the streets when it’s unexpected like this, we have to do everything we can to be cautious.”
The Des Moines Police Department Traffic Unit believes the weather was the most significant contributing factor to the crash.