Man sentenced to 30 years in prison for fatal Thanksgiving Day crash

Published 6/13/2024 11:50:46 AM

A Des Moines man was sentenced to up to 30 years in prison Thursday for causing a crash that killed a woman early Thanksgiving Day last year.  

Shawn Michael Bowersock, 46, pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide by operating while intoxicated, a class B felony, and eluding, a Class D felony, as well as a probation violation and a traffic ticket. The state dismissed other charges as part of a plea deal.  

District Court Judge Celene Gogerty sentenced Mr. Bowersock to up to 30 years in prison. He must pay $150,000 in restitution to the heirs of Connie Rae Allison, who was killed in the crash, and complete a victim-offender dialogue with her family.  

On Nov. 23, 2023, Des Moines police officers noticed a Chevy Lumina with an expired registration sticker near Southeast Fifth Street and Park Avenue. The officers turned on the marked patrol car’s emergency lights, but the driver eluded officers and his speeds reached 85 mph in a 25-mph zone, according to evidence. The driver failed to negotiate a curve and vaulted off a creek embankment and landed at the bottom of a creek at Southeast Eighth Street and East Emma Avenue. The passenger, Ms. Allison, 66, was extricated from the vehicle and later died of her injuries. 

The defendant admitted he was driving under the influence of methamphetamine. He had an outstanding arrest warrant at the time of the crash. 

“I caused this terrible loss of life,” Mr. Bowersock told the court. He apologized to Ms. Allison’s family. “If I could trade places with her, I would,” he said. “The only thing I hope for is forgiveness some day.” 

Alicia George, Ms. Allison’s daughter-in-law, gave a victim impact statement for the family and described how her death had affected her grandchildren and other relatives. She emphasized the short time between his decision to flee police and the crash.  

"Thirty-eight seconds is all it took for Shawn to decide Connie’s life was no longer worth living,” she told the court. 

“We have nightmares of the horrific way Connie died,” Ms. George said. “Our family will never be able to celebrate Thanksgiving again.”  

The case was prosecuted by Assistant County Attorney Jaki Livingston, with assistance from Megan Peak and Chelsey Wilson.