ANCHORAGE — A Washington state man charged in a wrong-way collision in Alaska that severely injured an Anchorage police officer was driving with a blood-alcohol content of almost three times the legal limit, according to the criminal complaint against him.
Gregory Fulling of Marysville, Wash., sustained skull fractures in the Sept. 23 crash on the Glenn Highway in Eagle River, a suburb north of Anchorage.
Officer Randy Hughes sustained multiple fractures in his pelvis, foot and ankle. The 41-year-old officer is being treated in Seattle at Harborview Medical Center, where he was listed in satisfactory condition Friday, said hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg.
An arrest warrant has been issued for the 49-year-old Fulling, who remains hospitalized in Anchorage. Authorities are waiting for medical clearance before taking him into custody on charges of assault and driving under the influence of alcohol.
According to the police complaint filed in court, Fulling’s blood-alcohol level drawn at a hospital after the crash was 0.22 percent. The legal limit is 0.08 percent.
Fulling was driving a rental sedan north on the southbound side of the highway, police said. Hughes was responding to reports about the wrong-way driver when the crash occurred.
Hughes tried to veer out of the way, but Fulling’s sedan hit the cruiser on the passenger side and pushed it nearly 80 yards before the officer’s vehicle came to a rest in a ditch, police alleged. Hughes was pinned in his car and had to be extricated by firefighters.
Fulling’s car burst into flames with the impact, and a responding officer pulled him out. Fulling was not burned, but his condition wasn’t immediately available Friday.
Lt. Dave Parker said the first of multiple surgeries has been performed on Hughes.
“He’s doing well emotionally,” Parker said. “He’s just looking forward to getting back to work.”
At Harborview, Hughes is under the care of orthopedic surgeon Dr. Chip Routt, whose specialty is complex surgeries for severe pelvic fractures including hip sockets stemming from high energy trauma such as car crashes and falls off buildings.
Routt declined to discuss the specifics of Hughes’ case.
Generally, however, the recovery period for patients with major pelvic injuries can range from three to six months, he said.
Once healed, many patients are able to function normally — albeit with some stiffness or soreness.
“We fix people to go do what they used to do before,” Routt said.