Governor uninjured in Anchorage accident

Man with several previous traffic violations fails to stop in time, striking Palin's SUV

Posted: Thursday, July 10, 2008

ANCHORAGE - Gov. Sarah Palin was not injured when her sport utility vehicle was involved in a four-vehicle chain-reaction collision Tuesday at an intersection in Anchorage.

The accident was caused when a vehicle driven by a man with several previous traffic violations, including speeding, failed to stop in time, rear-ending the governor's large SUV.

The governor was driving from her home in Wasilla to her Anchorage office when her Chevy Suburban was struck at the intersection of the Glenn Highway and Bragaw Street.

The governor wasn't injured and did not request medical care, said her spokeswoman, Sharon Leighow.

The accident occurred when Palin was at a complete stop. The vehicle behind Palin hit her SUV, causing the chain reaction.

Leighow said Palin's vehicle sustained some damage but was drivable, and the governor continued on to work.

Palin was wearing a seat belt, and the air bag did not deploy.

Leighow said the governor told her she was grateful she was driving a large vehicle.

Shawn Brown, 29, of Wasilla, the driver of the Econoline van that smashed into the back of Palin's SUV, was cited on a charge of failing to use due care to avoid a collision and was fined $60, said Anchorage police spokeswoman Anita Shell.

"He can just mail that in," Shell said.

A check of public records shows that Brown was found guilty of speeding in 2006, going 10 mph to 19 mph over the speed limit. A previous speeding violation was dismissed in 1998.

According to records, Brown also has received several other citations, including operating a vehicle with an expired registration, failing to meet the taillight requirement and failing to carry proof of insurance.

Shell said it did not appear anybody was injured in Tuesday's accident.

"He said he was not using his phone and was paying attention prior to the accident," she said. "It is just one of those things that happened, I suppose."

A message left by The Associated Press at Brown's home was not immediately returned.

Brown was recognized in 2006 for his outstanding work as a volunteer emergency medical technician in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.

"He is a very good responder," said James Steele, fire chief for the Central Mat-Su Fire Department. "He has been a very good member and has a good driving record with us."

In addition to being certified as an EMT, Brown also drives fire trucks and transports patients from the local hospital into Anchorage.

He also was a member of the Army National Guard and spent a little over a year in Iraq, where he conducted security and drove around looking for roadside explosives.

Steele said he can't think of a time Brown had an accident on the job in the eight to 10 years he's volunteered.

"It sounds like Shawn had a bad day," he said.

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