Deadly Year in Iowa: 17 Traffic Fatalities on Streets of One City
Only a little over a month of 2023 remains, and that's great news. It has been a very tragic year on Iowa roads, where traffic-related deaths are on pace to be the deadliest in years.
Through Tuesday, November 28, 335 people have been killed on Iowa roadways this year. I'll get into how that compares to recent years, and all-time in the state later in this story.
In the city of Des Moines, 17 people have now died in traffic-related incidents this year. The latest happened early Thanksgiving morning (November 23), when 66-year-old Connie Allison of Des Moines was killed.
Allison was a passenger in a vehicle driven by 46-year-old Shawn Bowersock. According to the Des Moines Police Department, an officer tried to make a traffic stop for a registration violation when Bowersock sped away.
KCCI reports court documents indicate Bowersock's vehicle reached a speed of nearly 90 miles per hour while traveling south on Southeast 8th Street, before failing to navigate a corner at M Avenue. The vehicle he was driving then crashed in the ditch.
Allison died at a Des Moines hospital and Bowersock was injured.
Bowersock was booked into the Polk County Jail (photo below) on Friday afternoon, November 24. He's been charged with Homicide by Vehicle, possession of a controlled substance, probation violation, improper use of registration, driving while license denied, suspended, canceled, or revoked, and violation of financial liability. KCCI says he also had an outstanding felony warrant for an unrelated incident at the time of the crash.
In Cedar Rapids this year, Public Safety Communication Specialist Mike Battien tells me there have been 11 fatal accidents that have resulted in a total of 13 deaths.
On a statewide basis, Iowa is only two fatalities away from the 337 that were killed last year. In 2021, there were 356 traffic deaths in Iowa. There were 343 in 2020, 337 in 2019, and 319 in 2018.
Historically, the most traffic deaths in Iowa in a single year was in 1970 when 912 people were killed. Since Iowa's seat belt law was enacted in July of 1986, more than 500 people have died on Iowa roads during the year only three times. Those were in 1988 (557), 1989 (515), and 1995 (527).
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