Alcohol a factor in teen crash

Two teenagers to remain in hospital for a month or more

Posted: Thursday, May 08, 2003

Police said Wednesday they believe alcohol was involved in a car crash early Sunday that left three teenagers hospitalized in Seattle with serious injuries.

Juneau Police Sgt. John Boltjes said the investigation is continuing, but it appears excessive speed and alcohol were factors in the crash. No charges have been filed.

Four teenagers were in the 1990 Toyota Camry when it hit a guardrail and flipped over on Back Loop Road after 1 a.m. The driver was treated for minor injuries and released at Bartlett Regional Hospital, but the three passengers were flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for treatment.

Juneau resident Bob Reierson told the Empire that Kristie Durand, 17, was driving, and that his son Ben Reierson,17, Charlotte Rider, 15, and Josh Howard, 18, were the passengers.

Reierson said his son told him the teenagers had been drinking.

Ben Reierson is still in the hospital after undergoing seven hours of surgery for a broken pelvic bone and a punctured kidney and bladder, his father said. He was in serious condition Wednesday night, Harborview officials said. Bob Reierson said his son probably will be in the hospital another seven weeks, and will be confined to a wheelchair for two months after that.

"He's hurting, but they're all going to make it," said Reierson, whose wife is at the Seattle hospital with his son.

Howard, who has been living in Juneau for a few months but is from Ketchikan, just came out of surgery for two broken legs and a broken pelvic bone, Reierson said. Howard was in satisfactory condition Wednesday night, according to Harborview officials. Reierson said he was told the boy will be in the hospital for another month.

Reierson also said he was told Rider had a crack on her pelvic bone, but was scheduled to be out of the hospital today. Rider was also in satisfactory condition Wednesday night, Harborview officials said.

Reierson said details of what happened that night are sketchy.

"I think (Durand) was just giving them a ride home, but I don't know anyone that lives out there," he said.

Calls to a phone listing for Kristie Durand went unanswered, and a message for comment was left at the home of Durand's father.

A relief fund has been set up at Wells Fargo for donations. Reierson said airfare for relatives who made the trip to Seattle, coupled with mounting medical bills and other expenses, are going to hit all the families hard.

"I'm sure there's going to be (physical) therapy," he said.

Reierson said he will have to make his home wheelchair accessible for his son's return.

Those interested in making a donation may ask about the relief fund at any Wells Fargo branch.

Masha Herbst can be reached at masha.herbst@juneauempire.com.



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