DES MOINES, Iowa -- An Iowa semi-truck driver is breathing a sigh of relief. "Just one of those things you realize how precious moments can be," said the driver, choosing to remain anonymous.
He was not just a witness but a victim in a police chase Tuesday afternoon heading west on Maury near SE 22nd Street. "They had to be running 70-plus miles an hour, no doubt in my mind on that. I thought for a moment they were going to take me head on," said the witness.
Des Moines Police Sgt. Rodrigo Santizo said the two suspects nearly did. "The suspects in the vehicle lost control, hit a semi, flipped the car over."
The two suspects sustained only minor injuries, but their home nearby was being monitored by police before they fled, and the truck driver saw it unfold. "There was a couple of unmarked vehicles chasing them initially, and within a few seconds a van with the tactical team showed up," said the driver. Multiple police, armed with long guns and wearing camouflage surrounded the flipped vehicle and apprehended both suspects.
Not too far away, another chase began at 2nd Avenue, led to a hit and run at Laurel Street and extended to Interstate 235, all before its end on the off ramp at East 14th Street. Police found a small child in the vehicle. "It always amazes us what people are going to risk in order to get away from the police," said Santizo.
The driver was arrested. The child was unharmed and taken to Blank Children's Hospital as a precaution. Santizo said, "Blank is going to take over there and wait for DHS to show up."
Despite all the wreckage and no serious injuries, "any time they drive in such a manner, it puts everybody at risk, themselves, the officers and any passerby," Santizo said.
The semi-truck driver's 6-month-old rig is out of commission, but he was back to work with another vehicle a few hours later. "If I didn't get some pics of what was going on, I didn't think anyone would believe me," he said.
Both chases remain under investigation and charges are pending. Des Moines police were unable to reveal why the home near Maury Street was being monitored by their department.