DES MOINES, Iowa — It’s a tragic trend that Iowa State Patrol officials say is completely preventable: high-speed pursuits that begin as minor traffic violations.
“Last year, I believe we had about 50 pursuits altogether … We’ve seen well over 60 pursuits that have happened so far this year throughout the state of Iowa,” said Sgt. Alex Dinkla of the Iowa State Patrol.
Sunday night’s crash in Des Moines was one of those pursuits. Dinkla says it began as a registration violation stop on Interstate 235 in Des Moines. As the trooper got out of his vehicle, the driver sped off. Dinkla says the actual pursuit was even called off once the suspect left the interstate, but it didn’t stop the vehicle from a high-speed crash that could have been much worse.
“It’s a miracle that nobody was killed in this crash because preliminary indications show all four of the occupants didn’t even have seat belts on. One person was actually ejected from the vehicle, so it’s a miracle that they are all still alive,” said Dinkla.
Surveillance video from a home near 21st Street and Drake Park Avenue caught the crash as it happened. The crash report says 20-year-old Yackhub Ali, 20-year-old Osman Ahmed, 19-year-old Ayub Ali and 19-year-old Yahye Muhammed were all in the Dodge Charger when it collided into the power pole and tree. All were taken to a local hospital, with the exception of Ahmed, who was able to leave the scene.
While the occupants appear to be recovering, Dinkla says avoiding a simple ticket isn’t worth nearly losing a life. “People don’t need to take these risks when it is a simple little traffic violation. You have other people in the car. You have to understand that you as a driver are responsible and when you take these risks. We just saw four people in this vehicle that could have tragically lost their lives,” said Dinkla.
The crash remains under investigation. The Iowa State Patrol says speed was a factor in the crash and they are looking into whether or not the driver was under the influence at the time of the crash.