Two lives were cut short in a matter of seconds. Two lives that had a bright future of honorable service to their community. We would like to offer our deepest sympathies to families, friends and fellow police officers of Susan Farrell and Carlos Puente-Morales who tragically died in a head on collision accident on I-80 last Saturday, March 26.
Everyone knows and understands that lives of police officers are dangerous ones, but usually one imagines danger as something absolutely different from car accident. That is why the deaths of these police officers feel so much more tragic.
Susan Ferrell and Carlos Puente-Morales graduated from the Des Moines’ Police Academy in October. Before coming to work to the Des Moines Police Department Susan Ferrell served with the Polk County Sheriff Department for a few years. Carlos Puente-Morales started to serve at the Des Moines Police Department five months ago and before that he was with the Ottumwa Police Department. He also was active in the Iowa National Guard and a military veteran who was deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan as part of the Infantry Red Bulls.
Who was Officer Puente-Morales?
Officer Puente-Morales was born in New Mexico and he spent some of his childhood living in Mexico before coming to Ackley, Iowa where he graduated from High School. He went to Ellsworth Community College. He had a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.
According to people who knew Officer Puente-Morales well, this 34 year old veteran and family man had a “larger than life personality that was contagious. He loved to spend time with his children and family and friends and was devoted to all of them. He was very caring and loyal. The type of person you could depend on no matter what.”
Even though at first he was contemplating to be a lawyer, he decided to become a police officer instead. Officer Puente-Morales took very seriously his role as Latino police officer. He wanted “to bridge the communication and trust gap between the police department and the community” He also enjoyed greatly being a mentor to rookie police officers and he was looking forward to doing the same in Des Moines.
When not on duty police officer Carlos Puente-Morales he would enjoy watching his favorite soccer team the Tigres de Monterrey, the Mexican National Team as well as playing soccer and American football. He also was a Chess Champion in Mexico and he loved to play the game Risk. Officer Puente-Morales has many awards and recognitions and medals for his service. “He loved being a soldier,” people who know him best share.
The mass for Officer Carlos Puente-Morales was held on Friday April 1 at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in West Des Moines. The service for Officer Susan Ferrell was held on Wednesday March 30 at Lutheran Church of Hope in Des Moines.
While families of these fallen police officers mourn their deaths the Iowa State Patrol continues the investigation of this horrific accident. There are a few unanswered questions like at what speed the vehicles were traveling and why was the other vehicle was traveling in the wrong direction among many others.
Officer Susan Ferrell and Officer Carlos Puente-Morales were the 21st and 22nd officers who died in the line of duty from the Des Moines Police Department and they are 178th and 179th to die while on the job in the state of Iowa.
There are no words to describe how tragic this loss is. As community we would like to offer our deepest condolences to the families of these officers. Rest in Peace Officer Susan Ferrell and Officer Carlos Puente-Morales.