Officer Shawn Miller was traveling southbound on 169 when his motorcycle collided with a car just north of Interstate 80.
47-year-old West Des Moines Police Officer Shawn Miller was killed in a vehicle accident near the intersection of Highway 169 and the Interstate 80 on ramps in Dallas County on Wednesday, Aug. 3. He had been attending court proceedings at the Dallas County Court House in Adel and was returning to West Des Moines.
According to an accident report by the Iowa State Patrol, Miller was traveling southbound on Highway 169 on his personal motorcycle, a 2008 Harley Davidson, when a 2005 Buick LaCrosse, driven by 38-year-old Jeanette Keifer of Stratford, Iowa, was traveling northbound and stopping to turn onto the westbound on ramp to Interstate 80. Keifer failed to yield, causing herself and Miller to collide in the southbound lane.
West Des Moines Chief of Police said that while Miller was technically on his day off, he was technically on duty at the time, saying that their officers are still required to fulfill their responsibilities with court proceedings at the courthouse.
“It’s kind of ironic in the sense that the case he was serving as a witness today was a big case,” LaDue said. “He was an evidence technician in that particular case resolved around a hit-and-run, fatal accident that we had in the recent past in which his work as an evidence technician was quite critical to the outcome of this case.”
The accident is currently under investigation and no other information about the accident is available at this time.
Miller has been with the West Des Moines Police Department for 26 years, including 21 as a police officer. LaDue said that Miller was set to be promoted to the rank of Sergeant on Aug. 29.
“He’s been a leader in our organization both informally and formally and this is a very significant loss to our organization and the community,” LaDue said.
Sergeant Jason Bryan, the public information officer for the West Des Moines Police Department, has known Miller since the beginning of their careers. They attended high school together and they were roommates at the police academy.
Bryan said that Miller was not an officer that just “worked his eight hours and went home.”
“He was heavily involved in the department,” Bryan said. “With training and with all sorts of other things.”
Dallas County Sheriff Chad Leonard confirmed that his staff, including himself and four deputies, were the first responders on the scene after the accident, but he could not comment since the Iowa State Patrol is in charge of the investigation.
Miller is the third police officer to die in a vehicle accident in the line of duty in Dallas County this year. Carlos Puene-Morales and Susan Farrell, both Des Moines Police officers, were killed while transporting a prisoner back on March 26.
Puente-Morales and Farrell were driving eastbound on Interstate 80 when a vehicle driving the wrong way collided with them, killing everyone in both vehicles.