Man involved in bus collision expected to recover

Posted: Wednesday, February 23, 2000

A Juneau man injured in a two-vehicle crash Monday night is in stable condition today in a Seattle hospital. Services have not been scheduled yet for his wife, who died in the collision.

David Valley, 49, an engineer with the Alaska Marine Highway System, suffered severe injuries to his hip and abdomen. He was initially treated at Bartlett Regional Hospital, then medevaced to Harborview Medical Center.

The crash occurred about 6:30 p.m. Monday on a slippery Back Loop Road curve between Windfall Avenue and Goat Hill Road. The Valleys' 1990 Toyota pickup collided with a Capital Transit bus. The right front of the pickup hit the left front of the bus in a nearly head-on collision, said Lt. Walt Boman of the Juneau Police Department.

The bus was headed toward Auke Bay, while the Valleys' pickup was headed toward the Mendenhall Glacier. The pickup apparently hit a patch of black ice and skidded, according to rescue workers who responded to the scene.

David Valley, who was driving, was wearing a seat belt. His wife was apparently not buckled in, rescue workers said.

``The roads Monday went from being bare and wet to icy in about an hour, and it caught a lot of drivers off guard. Contributing factors to the accident would be ice and too much speed for the conditions,'' Boman said.

While the accident is still under investigation, Boman said he did not expect police to issue any citations.

The impact of the collision ejected Valley's wife, Claudia Valley, 45, from the pickup. She was pronounced dead at the scene. The couple were newlyweds, married last June.

``I've been so worried about him,'' said David Valley's stepdaughter Barbara Rawson, 18, of Juneau.

Valley had two surgeries Tuesday morning, one to addressed his abdominal injury, the second to repair his fractured femur.

``They were concerned about blood loss,'' Rawson said.

A Harborview spokesman said Valley is in stable condition. Although his injuries are serious, he is expected to recover.

Valley's daughter, Shannon Bvegni, 22, of Juneau, is with him at Harborview, Rawson said.

Originally from Oregon, Valley has worked for the ferry system for 25 years.

``He started as a cook in the stewards' department and then worked his way up onto deck, and then into the engineers room about 10 and a half years ago,'' said Ginger Griffin, personnel officer with the marine highway. He became the permanent junior engineer on the ferry Matanuska in 1995.

The body of his wife, a child-care worker, was flown to the state crime lab in Anchorage for an autopsy, said her mother Liela Haley of Juneau.

While her daughter's death is extremely difficult to take, Haley said she has received considerable solace from the outpouring of affection from her daughter's many friends and co-workers.

``I never knew how many people loved her,'' Haley said. She and her husband, Patrick, are planning a celebration of their daughter's life, but it has not been scheduled.

The driver of the bus involved in the crash, a 41-year-old woman, was treated for contusions on her left arm and right leg, said Sheryl Washburn, nursing supervisor at Bartlett. The only passenger in the bus at the time declined medical treatment.

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