Two people are dead and two taken to the hospital after a single-car accident on South Tongass Highway. Deputy Police Chief Josh Dossett says the Ketchikan Police Department received a call at 9:05 Monday night reporting an accident just south of the Coast Guard Base.
“A single vehicle was traveling south when it left the roadway and struck the rock embankment on the land side of the highway. There were four individuals in the vehicle. Two of the individuals were deceased at the scene. The other two were transported to the Ketchikan hospital for treatment.”
The driver, 31 year old April Arland, was killed, along with a 16-year-old female passenger. The two were ejected from the vehicle from the force of the crash. Another 16-year old female and a 14-year old boy survived. Police are not releasing the names of the teenagers. (The Ketchikan Daily News reported the dead teen is Kiana Seierup. The injured teens are Christine Demmert and Royce Trout. Both were flown to Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage).
The conditions of the survivors were not available, but Dossett says both were alert and able to speak to police Monday night before being transported to the hospital.
Debris from the accident was strewn across the highway, and the front of the vehicle severed off. Dossett says speed was likely a factor in the accident, but further investigation is needed.
“We won’t know whether or not alcohol was involved until we get the toxicology back from the medical examiner’s office. The two deceased will be transported up to Anchorage where an autopsy will be done.”
Dossett says the investigation is being led by Police Sergeant Robert Cheatam, an expert on traffic accident fatalities. Dossett says in addition to witness statements, the police will be looking at information gathered at the scene.
“We had the Alaska State Troopers assist us in mapping the scene with the total station, so we will put a diagram together. We will follow up with interviews with people who maybe saw or talked to the people prior to them leaving in the vehicle. Anyone who did witness the accident and hasn’t spoken to the police, we’d appreciate them calling the police department. And then we will follow up with the two people in the car once they are able to talk to us.”
In addition to the Ketchikan Police Department and Alaska State Trooper personnel, Ketchikan firefighters and other emergency responders assisted at the scene.