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Suspected DUI crash in Anchorage leaves motorcyclist with broken ribs, fractured spine

By KTVA CBS 11 News 10:36 AM April 19, 2015
ANCHORAGE –

A motorcyclist is in the hospital in critical condition after he was struck by a driver who police believe was impaired.

Just after 8:30 p.m. Saturday, the Anchorage Police Department responded to the collision, near the intersection of Debarr Road and Edward Street, in East Anchorage.

Preliminary investigation revealed that a motorcyclist, who APD is identifying as a 47-year-old male, was traveling westbound on Debarr Road and was stopped at a red light near the intersection of Edward Street. Police say a 2008 white Mercedes struck the motorcyclist from behind. The Mercedes, driven by 44-year-old Franklin Townsend, kept going another 50 feet through the intersection before the vehicle came to a stop.

“Several witnesses observed the collision and thought the driver of the Mercedes may be intoxicated,” court documents say.

When APD made contact with Townsend, “officers could smell an odor of alcohol,” a release from APD says. After Townsend failed standard field sobriety tests, he was arrested and charged with OUI and third-degree assault and refusal to submit — after he refused a breathalyzer test at the Anchorage Jail. other charges. He was then taken to the Anchorage Jail, where APD says he refused to submit to a breathalyzer test.

According to court documents, Townsend has prior convictions of operating a vehicle while impaired.

The motorcyclist was transported to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries, APD says, adding that he remains hospitalized in critical condition with broken ribs and a fractured spine, among other injuries. When APD was able to get a statement from him, he said the Mercedes abruptly changed lanes and struck him from behind. After hitting the Mercedes’ windshield, he said he remembered being thrown to the road and sliding on his head, charging documents say.

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