The body of a woman who was found inside a car that plunged into a lake following a chase with police Wednesday morning has been identified.
West Des Moines police say 51-year old Brenda Hatfield was killed in the incident near the Maffitt Reservoir.
Around 4 a.m., West Des Moines Police attempted to pull over a car at S. 11TH and the S.W. Connector after noticing the car was weaving around and the driver may have been impaired. The driver took off. Officers say she turned onto Maffitt Lake Road, reaching speeds of 70 to 80 miles an hour. Police say Hatfield turned onto S. 54th St., but kept going.
“The pursuing officer knew this was a dead-end so he backed off,” says West Des Moines Police Sgt. Ken O’Brien.
Officers soon found tracks leading to Crystal Lake on Des Moines Water Works property.
“They shined their lights on the lake and they could see bubbles coming up from the lake which is a strong indication the car was submerged,” says O’Brien.
Police called in multiple rescue teams, including a dive team to find the car. They found it around 8 a.m. and started pulling it out of the water. A woman’s body was found inside the car.
“At 4 o’clock in this area, it’s dark and I don’t know if the driver was familiar with this area or if they were just trying to flee and had no idea what they were driving into,” says O’Brien.
“People don’t realize. Some of them probably think you can get to the interstate this way which you can’t,” says Mary Flinn who lives near the quarry.
Despite living in Des Moines, Hatfield’s car had Arkansas license plates.
Johnston Police say they have an arrest warrant for a woman with the same name, but can’t confirm if it was the driver from the West Des Moines chase. The Johnston suspect is wanted for a burglary at a day care in September.