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Three Teenagers Killed, One More Seriously Injured After Tragic Crash in Des Moines


According to a report from KCCI, three teenagers were killed and one more sustained serious injuries after a terrible crash in Des Moines. The accident—which involved a stolen vehicle that the teenagers were riding in—occurred in the south side of the city. Here, our Des Moines car accident attorney explains what we know about the case and discusses teen driver safety. 

Speed-Related Stolen Vehicle Crash Claims Life of Three Teenagers

In Des Moines, a tragic accident occurred when a stolen vehicle, driven at high speeds, resulted in the deaths of three teenagers. The incident highlights ongoing concerns regarding vehicular safety and teenage driving behavior. The initial reports suggest that the vehicle involved was taken without permission and the excessive speed contributed to the severity of the crash.

As confirmed by reporters at North Iowa Today, the teenagers were attempting to flee law enforcement when the fatal crash happened. The crash happened near the 600 block of Davis Avenue in South Des Moines. The incident is still under a more comprehensive investigation by the Des Moines Police Department (DMPD). 

Stolen Vehicle Was a Hydunai 

It is notable that the stolen vehicle in this case was a 2013 Hyundai Sonata. Hyundai and Kia vehicles have been experiencing notably high theft rates—largely due to a vulnerability in their anti-theft systems. Many models from these manufacturers made between 2011 and 2021 lack engine immobilizers—which are a standard security feature in most modern cars that prevents the engine from starting without the correct key. Unfortunately, it is a safety oversight that has been exploited. In response to the surge in thefts, Hyundai and Kia have offered free software updates to enhance vehicle security. However, despite these efforts, the issue persists

Know the Data: Teen Drivers and Traffic Collisions

Teen driver safety is a very serious concern in Iowa and throughout the country. Of course, most teen driver crashes have nothing to do with theft. However, speeding, careless driving, and mistakes due to inexperience are major issues. Teen Driver Source reports that motorists between the ages of 15 and 19 are four times more likely to be involved in an injury crash than are older drivers. Teen drivers face the absolute highest safety risk in their first year behind the wheel. Given the inherent safety risk, it is imperative that a strong priority is put in teen driver safety.  

An Overview of Iowa’s Graduated Licensing Program

Iowa’s Graduated Licensing Program (GDL) is designed to allow new drivers to gain experience under less risky conditions. There is a multi-stage approach designed to ease the transition. Here is an overview of how driver’s licenses for teenagers work in Iowa: 

  • Instructional Permit: A permit is available from age 14 in Iowa. a teenager must be enrolled in an approved driver education course. The permit allows only for supervised driving with a qualified adult—usually a parent—present in the vehicle.
  • Intermediate License: Issued from age 16, after holding the instructional permit for at least 12 months and completing a minimum of 20 hours of supervised driving, including 2 hours at night. There are restrictions on nighttime driving and limits young passengers. 
  • Full License: A full license can be obtained at age 17 after holding an intermediate license for at least 12 months without any moving violations. Once it is received, the state mandated limitations on driving are lifted. 

Four Tips for Parents to Ensure their Teens Drive Safely

As a parent, handing the keys over to your teenager is always stressful. Even though you may be excited to watch them transition to a new stage of life, you likely have very reasonable concerns about their safety. Here are four tips that parents in Iowa can use to help keep their young driver as safe as possible: 

  1. Model Safety Driving Behavior: The influence of parental behavior on teenage driving habits is profound. It should not be underestimated. With this in mind, parents in Des Moines should strive to model safe driving practices themselves, such as wearing seatbelts, obeying speed limits, and avoiding distractions like mobile phones. You help to set the standard for your teenager. 
  2. Know the Importance of Practice: A significant amount of teen driver accidents happen, at least in part, because of inexperience. Practice is essential in helping teen drivers handle various driving situations safely. The more practice a teen gets, the better their driving skills and decision-making become. Encourage your teen to drive in different conditions such as rain, snow, and at night (under strict supervision) to build their skills. 
  3. Put Your Own Limits On Vehicle Use: While Iowa’s GDL standard imposes certain restrictions on new teen drivers, parents in Des Moines can (and should) set additional boundaries based on their knowledge of their teen’s skills and maturity. Along with other things, this might include limiting the number of passengers and restricting driving in high-risk situations such as late at night. 
  4. Take the Keys if Your Teen is Not Responsible: Finally, it is important to remember that driving is a privilege. It is earned not given. If a teen demonstrates irresponsible behavior while behind the wheel—whether it is speeding, distracted driving, or not following your rules―you should not hesitate to revoke their driving privileges. It is a tough love approach that can drive home the seriousness of the responsibility. For young drivers, safety should always be the top priority. 

Contact Our Des Moines Auto Accident Attorneys Today


At Ball, Kirk & Holm, P.C., our Des Moines car crash lawyers are committed to protecting the rights of victims and families. Our firm holds negligent drivers and large insurance companies accountable in legal claims. If your teenager was involved in a serious motor vehicle crash, we are here to help. Contact us today for your free, no obligation initial case review. Our attorneys are always ready to come to you. We handle car accident cases in Des Moines, Des Moines County, and across the area.