Deceased ID'd in wreck involving Mat-Su ambulance
One person is dead in a collision involving an ambulance on Knik-Goose Bay Road in the Mat-Su, responders said, with several other people hurt.
Otto Feather, the Mat-Su Borough’s director of emergency services, said the collision was reported at Mile 5 of the road at about 1:45 p.m. Thursday. Three or four people had been injured, though only one was transported from the scene.
“We do have one fatality that we’re aware of,” Feather said. “Our understanding is that there’s two vehicles at this point.”
Feather said one of the vehicles involved in the crash was a Mat-Su Borough ambulance, which had been carrying two crew members, one patient and one family member.
The person killed in the crash was one of two people in the other vehicle, a dark SUV. Alaska State Troopers identified the victim Friday as 38-year-old Donny Inman, of Wasilla.
Feather said the second person had been entrapped in the vehicle; he was flown by a LifeMed air ambulance to Anchorage in critical condition after responders cut the vehicle apart to reach him.
Megan Peters, Alaska State Troopers spokesperson, says it appears the dark SUV lost control and crossed into oncoming traffic when it was struck on its passenger side by the oncoming ambulance.
It wasn’t immediately clear what call the ambulance had been responding to, or whether it had been traveling “code red” with its lights and siren activated. Feather said borough medics are trained not to do so in poor road conditions, however.
Several ambulances were called to the crash, Feather said, with a brief closure of the highway as the air ambulance landed.
Peters says it appears road conditions were a contributing factor, though the cause remains under investigation. Toxicology tests will be conducted on both drivers, Peters says.
Knik Goose Bay Road is one of Alaska's deadliest roadways. In fact, the Department of Transportation was working on traffic improvements to the area when the crash occurred.
"KGB is a horrible road," said Billy Koitzsch, a lead surveyor with DOT.
Koitzsch says scenes like the one Thursday have become common, especially in the winter.
"Every day we're out here, there's at least one accident."
But the odds are still better than they used to be. According to DOT, fatal crashes on Knik Goose Bay Road hit a high between 2004 and 2005, before the state started a safety corridor program.
Koitzsch and his crew are part of the program.
"The main thing is pulling in and out, there's no turn lanes," Koitzch said. "That's why we're improving the road, trying to fix it and we have a 200 ft. right-of-way around here, which is great, so eventually we can build the road, make it safer."
The improvements are paying off, with fewer lives lost.
In November, The Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities received a national roadway safety award for the “Alaska Safety Corridor Program,” which included restriping the parts of Knik Goose Bay Road, and adding rumble strips.
The state is moving forward with plans to turn KGB Road into a four-lane highway from Centaur Avenue to Vine Road. Construction is scheduled to begin sometime in 2020.
KTVA 11's Liz Raines contributed to this report.
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