ANCHORAGE — The driver of a pickup truck that veered off a road and struck and killed two teenage girls in Anchorage has been charged with driving under the influence and second-degree murder, Anchorage police said.
The girls, identified as 15-year-old best friends Brooke McPheters and Jordyn Durr, were walking home in the rain Friday evening after doing some back-to-school shopping when they were struck.
The driver, 31-year-old Stacey Allen Graham, had been seen just before the crash speeding recklessly, and his blood-alcohol content was about three times the legal limit, police said. He suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries in the crash and was hospitalized.
The girls’ friends brought bouquets of flowers and handwritten signs this weekend to the spot where they died, the Anchorage Daily News reported.
“I couldn’t stop crying all last night,” said McPheters’ friend Lara Lockard, still in tears Saturday. “I still can’t believe she’s gone.”
The girls were about to start their sophomore year of high school, Lockard said. McPheters went to South High, while Durr attended Service, according to the school district. Both girls participated in ROTC and aspired to join the Air Force.
Durr was a great shooter who earned a letter on the Service riflery squad, said a teammate, Moriah Miller. McPheters wanted to be a pilot, and she enjoyed shopping and going on walks with friends to talk about life, Lockard said.
Tire marks on the dirt between the road and the sidewalk showed where the pickup veered off the road at a sharp angle. It hit McPheters and Durr, then smashed into a sign for the Alzheimer’s Resource of Alaska building. Graham’s pickup landed on its side, police said, and the roof had to be removed before he could be extricated.
Through the police department, the families of the girls said they were not ready to speak publicly.
“Both families wanted to issue a statement to the community today thanking them for their condolences and support during this very difficult time,” police spokeswoman Jennifer Castro wrote in an email.
City property records and state voting records show Graham lives at a house he owns about a mile to the east of the crash scene.
According to Alaska courts, Graham was cited for speeding in 2011, the year he was granted a dissolution of marriage with children. He has never before faced criminal charges in Alaska.
Police typically arrest hospitalized defendants when they are released from medical care.