The husband of a woman who died in a motorcycle accident near the State Fairgrounds has been arrested and charged in her death. Twenty-six-year-old Michelle Lynn Branchcomb of Des Moines was riding a motorcycle being driven by her husband in April when it collided with another motorcycle and she was killed.
Branchcomb’s 35-year-old husband, Shawn, suffered a broken leg in the wreck. He was arrested Tuesday night and charged with homicide by vehicle by Operating While Intoxicated. Des Moines Police Sergeant Jeff Edwards says lab tests indicated Shawn Branchcomb and the driver of the other motorcycle “were impaired” at the time of the accident.
“The investigators were waiting for test results to come back,” Edwards said. “We were testing if drugs and alcohol were involved in the accident…once those results came back and indicated those substances were present, we filed the charges.” Shawn Branchcomb’s also charged with operating a motorcycle without a license. The other motorcyclist, 55-year-old Jeffery Lynn Long of Altoona, has been charged with aiding and abetting homicide by vehicle by Operating While Intoxicated. Long, who was not injured in the accident, has also been charged with second offense drunken driving.
Sergeant Edwards says Long tested positive for both alcohol and methamphetamine. None of those involved in the April crash were wearing helmets. Investigators say speed was also a contributing factor in the crash. Michelle Branchcomb — the 26-year-old who died in the accident — had two daughters and a step-son.