DES MOINES, Iowa — Southeast 14th Street, also known as Highway 69, is one of Des Moines’ most well-traveled roads. Police say driver behavior on the street has led to multiple serious crashes this month involving motorcycles, including two that resulted in the motorcyclists’ death.
The first crash happened at the intersection of SE 14th Street and Virginia Avenue on June 22. That crash killed the driver of the motorcycle, 33-year-old Shawn Tesdall. Police believe truck driver pulled out into the intersection from Virginia Avenue without yielding for other vehicles, and Tesdall then ran into that truck.
The second crash occurred near the intersection of SE 14th Street and Thornton Avenue last Saturday. Police say the driver of the motorcycle involved, who has not been identified, remains in critical condition. They believe the crash was caused by the motorcycle driver speeding and travelling recklessly on SE 14th Street.
“There are a few roadways in this town where people think that it invites them to travel fast, whether it’s long, straight, or wide open,” said Sgt. Paul Parizek of the Des Moines Police Department. “Those speed limits are there for a reason. They’re set by people way smarter than most of us, and they’re there to keep you safe.”
A third crash took place at the intersection of SE 14th and Watrous Avenue Wednesday night, a block south of the Thornton Avenue incident. 39-year-old Jason Smith of Knoxville died when his motorcycle crashed into a car turning onto Watrous from SE 14th. Police preliminarily believe that crash was a “tragic accident” and that neither driver operated their vehicle recklessly.
Des Moines Police report eleven people have died in car or motorcycle crashes in the city so far in 2022.