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Four wrecks cause injuries, temporary road closures

Posted: December 15, 2011 - 5:55pm  |  Updated: December 16, 2011 - 12:04am
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Capitol City Fire & Rescue wheels an injuried driver away from a three car accident on Egan Drive during heavy snowfall during the noon hour Thursday.  Michael Penn/Juneau Empire
Michael Penn/Juneau Empire
Capitol City Fire & Rescue wheels an injuried driver away from a three car accident on Egan Drive during heavy snowfall during the noon hour Thursday.

Police responded to four vehicle accidents during the lunch hour Thursday afternoon, all caused by snowy, icy conditions, police say.

Some of the accidents between 11:45 a.m. and 12:26 p.m. resulted in multiple passenger injuries, and another shut down a portion of Egan Drive for about an hour, Juneau Police Department spokeswoman Cindee Brown-Mills said.

None of the injuries were life-threatening, and everyone brought to the hospital has since been treated and released, said Bartlett Regional Hospital spokesman Jim Strader.

The first accident was called in at 11:45 a.m. in the Vintage Boulevard and Glacier Highway area, according to Officer Chris Gifford. Two vehicles, a 2003 Ford Escape and a second 1997 Ford vehicle, crashed, and one person, a 48-year-old woman suffered minor injuries. One of the drivers was cited for speeding, Gifford said by phone late Thursday evening.

At 12:14 p.m., JPD received a call three vehicles crashed on Egan Drive just past the Vanderbilt Hill Road intersection, which blocked traffic and prompted police to shut down the road for about an hour. Gifford says all the circumstances surrounding the crash were not yet known, but that all of the drivers were taken to the hospital for minor injuries. A 29-year-old woman was driving a 2003 Dodge Durango, a 58-year-old woman was driving a 2000 Dodge Durango and a 22-year-old man was driving a 2008 Nissan, Gifford said.

Northbound traffic between Channel Vista Drive and Vanderbilt Hill Road was shut down at 12:21 p.m. and traffic was rerouted to Glacier Highway. The road was re-opened at 1:30 p.m.

Gifford said the police report didn’t specify if any of the three were cited.

At 12:16 p.m., a man reportedly flipped a Ford pick-up truck as he was traveling northbound on Egan, according to Gifford, and JPD community service officer Bob Dilley, who was on the scene. The truck, that had an Alaska Housing Finance Corp. sticker on its side, rammed into a fence just past the Fred Meyer entrance. Brown-Mills said the man was 60 years old and he told responding officers and medics he was not injured.

The fourth accident was reported at 12:26 p.m., Gifford said. A 35-year-old male pedestrian was struck by a Jeep Cherokee driven by a 17-year-old boy on Willoughby Avenue, he said. The 17-year-old was cited and released for speeding.

Gifford, the officer in charge of the night shift Thursday evening, said to the best of his knowledge, the above four accidents were the only ones JPD responded to during the day.

Two more were reported by 7 p.m. under his shift, he said. One was a traffic incident where a driver hit a telephone pole on Seward Street, he said. The other was reported out the road at mile 32 and was ongoing during an interview with the Empire.

Light snow begin to fall in Juneau Thursday sometime between 9 and 10 a.m., according to the National Weather Service.

Three-tenths of an inch of snow had accumulated at the airport by 3 p.m., and nine-tenths of an inch were reported at the Juneau Forecast Office in the valley, says senior forecaster Jim Truitt.

Truitt said while the snowfall was just a dusting, visibility decreased drastically in a short amount of time. Visibility at the airport dropped from 7 miles at 9:40 a.m. to 1 1/2 miles at 10:53 a.m., he said.

Brown-Mills warned drivers to be careful and slow down while driving.

“It seems to be icy, slick out there, so even with four-wheel drive, go slow, be careful,” she said.

• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at emily.miller@juneauempire.com.

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