3-vehicle crash briefly closed Mendenhall Loop Road

Three vehicles on Thursday were involved in an accident near Stephen Richards Memorial Drive which shut down traffic on Mendenhall Loop Road for a short while, police say.


At 3:40 p.m. Thursday, Juneau Police Department received a report of a crash involving three vehicles with possible injuries, according to a statement.

Capital City Fire and Rescue arrived on scene to evaluate drivers for possible injuries. There were no medical transports.

Meanwhile, officers closed Mendenhall Loop Road between Dudley Street and Stephen Richards Drive for about 45 minutes as the vehicles were blocking traffic heading towards Egan Drive.

The police investigation determined that 56-year-old Juneau resident Naomi Vakauta, driving a brown Honda van, drove out of a residence’s driveway on Mendenhall Loop Road to turn left. She entered traffic on Loop Road and was crossing a lane of travel and the turn lane. Another driver in a green Ford truck, Joshua Zeller, 37, had the right of way and attempted to swerve out of Vakauta’s way, but could not. Vakauta’s van struck the front passenger side of Zeller’s truck.

Then, a third vehicle driving on Loop Road heading towards Egan Drive was also hit by Vakauta’s van. The third driver was a 66-year-old Juneau woman driving a black Subaru Legacy. She had tried to stop in time but couldn’t.

Vakauta was cited for negligent driving, and Zeller was cited for driving while his license suspended. His truck was impounded. Police didn’t release the name of the 66-year-old woman driving the third vehicle.


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