A woman was struck and killed by a car while trying to make her way to the roadway near Chugiak High School on Tuesday.

“Where the initial accident on the road happened made it hard for drivers to react,” said Renee Oistad, Anchorage Police Department spokeswoman. “Drivers coming up the small hill didn’t have much time to react to the accident in the roadway in front of them at the bottom of the hill.”

The accident occurred just before the South Birchwood on-ramp which merges onto the Glenn Highway heading south.

APD’s police report reads like this:

A 2001 gold Dodge van and a 2008 red Toyota Rav 4, both traveling south in the southbound lanes of the Glenn Highway (just south of the South Birchwood Exit), collided in the median after both were trying to avoid other crashes that had already occurred on the highway.  The drivers of those two vehicles had gotten out of their cars and were in the process of walking towards the roadway when a 2015 red Mazda also attempted to avoid the existing collisions and swerved into the median.  In doing so the Mazda struck the driver of the gold Dodge. 

“Several people did stop to help the woman that had been hit and then began CPR,” Oistad said. “She was pronounced deceased by paramedics once they arrived on scene.”

The red Mazda, still moving forward, then collided with a 2016 blue Honda which was traveling northbound on the highway. A southbound-traveling 2017 gray Subaru station wagon also attempted to avoid the existing collisions, went into the center median and struck the Toyota Rav 4.

The accidents caused traffic delays in both directions for up to three hours. The setting sun, icy roads, high speeds and vehicle tires all played a factor in the accidents. The Alaska Department of Transportation says the highway was sanded prior to the accident.

“The highway was sanded,” Shannon McCarthy, DOT spokeswoman. “The Glenn Highway, Seward Highway and Minnesota Drive are all priority one roads. We get to them first and make sure we get any high traffic areas like on ramps, off ramps and bridges. Anywhere people are going to need to stop.”

McCarthy says just because a road is sanded doesn’t mean it isn’t dangerous.

“One thing to keep in mind is that sand doesn’t stick to ice,” McCarthy said. “The more traffic in the area, the more the sand gets sprayed to the sides. Sand does help but drivers need to be mindful of the conditions.”

The common rule when someone enters the ditch or median and is not able to get out is to stay in the vehicle until help arrives.

Oistad said the two people who left their vehicles did the right thing.

“Absolutely they did the right thing by getting out,” Oistad said. “They tried to get to a safe place and away from more collisions. Unfortunately, one of them was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

The investigation is still ongoing and no citations or charges have yet to be issued. The name of the victim has also not yet been released.

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