Posted: Thursday, January 18, 2001

Crash on Eaglecrest Road injures three

JUNEAU - A 1998 Ford Explorer operating at a high rate of speed went off Eaglecrest Road about 8 p.m. Wednesday, and rolled several times, the Juneau Police Department reported

The vehicle was carrying three passengers. One 18-year-old passenger who was not wearing a seatbelt was ejected, police said. That passenger suffered a compression fracture, concussion and multiple deep abrasions or "road rash." He was transported to Bartlett Regional Hospital by an ambulance from the downtown fire station, arriving at 9:16 p.m. and was admitted for treatment, said Marijo Toner, Bartlett's regional affairs coordinator. He is in stable condition and Bartlett anticipates his discharge today, Toner said.

Also injured was a boy, 17, who suffered a knee laceration and bruising. He was discharged from the emergency department in good condition at 11:40 p.m., Toner said. The third person injured was a man, 21, who suffered abrasions of the right calf and right ankle.

Alcohol apparently was not involved in the incident. However, the driver, 21, may be cited for reckless driving and reckless endangerment, police said.

The accident took place half a mile up Fish Creek Road, also known as Eaglecrest Road.

The location was near the spot where high school wrestler Brandon Pilot, 16, went off the road, hit a culvert and was killed in the early hours of Nov. 18; Pilot's crash took place about 100 feet up Eaglecrest Road.

"Our toxicology report indicated no alcohol, so that was not a factor in the Pilot incident," police Capt. Tom Porter said this morning.

Former Coast Guard commander killed

JUNEAU - Adm. John B. Hayes, former commander of the Coast Guard in Alaska, died Wednesday after being accidentally struck by a vehicle in Tavernier, Fla.

Hayes, 76, was 17th Coast Guard District commander and commandant from 1978 to 1982. He led the rescue of cruise ship crew and passengers off the Prinsendam, which caught fire and burned in the Gulf of Alaska. He also headed up the agency's response to the Florida Air Flight 90 crash in Washington, D.C., and the Mariel Boatlift between Cuba and Florida.

"Admiral Hayes was one of our most dynamic commandants, an icon in the legacy of the Coast Guard," said Adm. James Loy, commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard. "He was a personal mentor and role model to literally thousands of Coast Guard officers, including myself. He is truly loved by this organization and will be greatly missed."

Originally from New York, Hayes entered the Coast Guard Academy in 1943 and spent most of his career in command positions. He served in Vietnam, Japan and Key West, Fla. As commandant he ordered a comprehensive study that helped to shape the present-day Coast Guard and led to an increase in drug seizures on the high seas.

Firefighter retires after 50 years

JUNEAU - Paul Thomas Jr. of Angoon announced his resignation as a member of the Angoon Volunteer Fire Department on Jan. 10 at the 7th annual Firemen's Dinner in Angoon.

His resignation came as no surprise to residents since Thomas, 63, became a volunteer fireman in 1950. But Thomas is not about to give up his commitment to public service in his home town. He is now volunteering as an ambulance driver for the Emergency Medical Service team - of which he's been a member for 20 years.

It all began as legalized hooky, Thomas confessed. "I joined the firemen when I was in grade school. They used to let the older boys out of school when they needed more help to fight the fire. We had no roads like now, no fire hydrants or running water. We used to have a little lean-to, with buckets all hanging on a row. That was our fire hall."

"We had what you call a bucket brigade, and we got our water from the beach," Thomas said.

Things changed in 1970 or 1971 when Angoon got its first fire truck. The volunteers currently have two fire trucks and one ambulance.

Thomas can remember 11 fire chiefs by name. "Paul is appreciated for the assistance that was received from him during his membership," said Chief Leonard Demmert Sr.

Lawmakers planning to take breaks

JUNEAU - The first measure Alaska House members passed this year was to give themselves some time off.

The House on Wednesday approved two recesses March 2-6 and April 13-16. The measure still must be approved by the Senate.

The breaks are traditional. In March some key legislators leave town to attend meetings of The Energy Council, an organization of legislators from 10 energy-producing states. The April break gives members a long weekend at Easter, although House Speaker Brian Porter said the recess is not for Easter. It's simply the last weekend lawmakers can go home before the final push to the end of the session in early May.

Both houses of the Legislature must pass a formal resolution if they plan to recess for more than three days.

Rep. John Davies, a Fairbanks Democrat, cast the only vote against the resolution. He didn't object to the April break, but said legislative work shouldn't stop so a few lawmakers can attend Energy Council meetings in March.

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