Victims ID'd in fatal Parks Highway collision near Cantwell
A Parks Highway head-on collision near Cantwell Monday afternoon killed four men in one of the vehicles involved and left four other people including a 2-year-old boy severely injured, Alaska State Troopers said.
Troopers identified the remaining three deceased in the crash Wednesday as 56-year-old Siva Veeramachani, the driver of the van that crossed the highway's center line, Dr. Mathukumilla Verra Venkata Satyanarayana Murthi or M.V.V.S. Murthi, and Pattabhi Ramayya Chowdhary Vantipali.
Megan Peters, a troopers spokeswoman, said all three are from India, as are the fourth person killed -- 78-year-old Basava P. Veluvola, named Tuesday by troopers -- and an injured man, 58-year-old Venkata R. Kadiyala. Kadiyala, who was named by troopers Tuesday along with Veluvola, was in critical condition at an Anchorage hospital.
An initial report of the wreck, near Mile 185 of the Parks, reached troopers just after 3 p.m. Monday.
“AST responded and determined that the driver of a 2017 Dodge van was passing a commercial motor vehicle in a no passing zone,” troopers wrote in an online dispatch. “The Dodge van collided with a 2007 Ford F150 truck in the opposing lane.”
The driver of the semi truck that was being passed by the van, troopers said Tuesday, did not stop after the crash.
Veeramachani and one of the van's passengers died at the scene, with two more men from the van dying as they being flown to an Anchorage-area hospital. Kadiyala was critically injured.
The boy, who was traveling in the F150, was also medevaced to Anchorage with serious injuries. Troopers said his parents, 23-year-old Collin Koskey who was driving the F150 and his 23-year-old wife Felicia Koskey in the front passenger seat, were taken to a hospital by ground ambulance.
Troopers said the Koskeys live on Fort Wainwright. Collin Koskey is a specialist who serves as an infantryman with Fort Wainwright's 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, according to U.S. Army Alaska spokesman John Pennell.
One of the responders, Trooper Brian Haley of Cantwell, said firefighters and medics from across the region and members of numerous agencies, ranging from the National Park Service to Fairbanks police, provided assistance at the crash site.
A pair of nurses visiting from Texas, among the good Samaritans who stopped to help, also played key roles in the response.
"They were the only medical staff on scene for the first 40 (or so) minutes," Haley wrote. "They were not only undertaking life-saving measures but also instructing others on how to help. In my mind they helped save the lives of the survivors."
Traffic on the Parks was restricted to one lane for several hours as troopers investigated.
Any witnesses to the crash, as well as the driver of the semi that was being passed, are asked to call the Fairbanks trooper post at 907-451-5100.
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