Coach killed in crash was ‘huge asset’ to Palmer girls
Friends and family are grieving for the four people killed in a Monday crash on the Parks Highway, including a Palmer woman and her young child.
Cary Taylor-Bloomquist and her 5-year-old daughter Addie Bloomquist from Palmer, as well as Fairbanks couple Charlene and Jeffrey Esley, ages 60 and 63, were killed in Monday afternoon’s crash at Mile 156.5 of the highway near Cantwell.
Taylor-Bloomquist was a volunteer soccer coach for the Palmer High School girls’ team last season. Head coach Harmony Chadwick says Taylor-Bloomquist was enthusiastic about coaching the girls.
“She was a huge asset to our younger girls,” Chadwick said. “Her daughter Addie was one of our biggest supporters and cheerleaders. Both of them will be greatly missed by the coaching staff and all the of the girls.”
Bloomquist spent the 2017-2018 year as a special education math and science teacher at Palmer High School.
Principal Paul Reid said she was his first hire. “She was golden. A great teacher with a big heart and a big passion for kids,” Reid said.
While she was only at the school for one year Reid said, “she made a strong, positive impact on staff and students.”
He said administrators pulled the soccer girls out of class this morning to give them the news of Bloomquist’s death. The school is providing support for staff and students.
On her teaching page for Palmer High School Taylor-Bloomquist said she had spent 14 years teaching middle and high school in Kenny Lake, Tok and Anchorage.
She was also a self-described “avid outdoorswoman,” who spent summers guiding for bears and salmon in the Copper River Valley.
Anchorage School District spokesperson Catherine Esary confirmed Taylor-Bloomquist was currently a teacher at Mears Middle School.
Mears Middle School principal, Michael Perkins, said Taylor-Bloomquist taught science at the school about a decade ago.
This time around she was teaching family consumer classes and classes on medical mysteries for a new program called Project Lead the Way.
“She was really involved with things outside the classroom and touched a lot of people,” Perkins said.
The school had counselors available for staff and students.
Perkins said Mears is where Taylor-Bloomquist had started her teaching career and she was “glad to be home. She just told me that on Friday,” he said.
Troopers say the crash happened when Taylor-Bloomquist crossed the center line and collided with two motorcycles – one carrying 62-year-old Fairbanks man David Fulton, and the other carrying the Esleys – then a pickup truck.
David Fulton was critically injured and medevaced. Fulton’s wife Heidi, 50, who was in the pickup with two of her children, ages 10 and 3, suffered lesser injuries.
The circumstances of Monday's crash are still under investigation. About 12 hours later, a Houston man died in a single-vehicle crash on the Parks near Mile 52.5, when troopers said his truck left the road and crashed into trees.
Editor's note: A misspelling of Addie Bloomquist's first name in Alaska State Trooper dispatches has been corrected.
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