Police: Drinking may have led to crash

Five people injured; parent says underage party preceded incident

Posted: Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Police say alcohol may have been a factor in a weekend crash that sent five teen-agers and young adults to the hospital. A parent of one of the teens said they had left a drinking party.

Police said a 30-year-old man was driving a 1987 Dodge van, carrying six to nine passengers ages 16 to 20, that left the road and crashed into a tree around 2:44 a.m. Sunday near mile 36.5 Glacier Highway.

Capt. Tom Porter said today he is not sure whether drunken driving charges will be filed against the driver. Porter didn't know the driver's blood-alcohol level or how the vehicle left the road.

Reggie Jacobski, the father of one of the passengers, said the driver and passengers were coming from a party out Glacier Highway. Police found six passengers in the van. Jacobski said three other teen-agers left the scene of the accident before police arrived. None of the passengers' names was released.

Five passengers in the vehicle sustained injuries and were taken to Bartlett Regional Hospital. Officials there said four passengers were treated and released Sunday in good condition. A girl, 18, girl was kept overnight and released Monday in good condition.

Jacobski said his son sustained a scalp injury inside the vehicle while other passengers were injured when they were thrown from the vehicle when it hit the tree. Jacobski said he spoke with the six teen-agers who were in the van and all appeared to have been drinking.

Porter said he didn't know whether the teens would be cited for underage drinking and did not confirm or deny they were drinking.

Jacobski said the teens told him police came to the party, but did not check identification of the drinkers or break up the gathering.

"As a parent, I'm kind of upset that they didn't even bother to check IDs when there's no doubt that there were a whole lot of underage kids there at the hospital coming from this party and they were hammered," Jacobski said. "This accident may not have happened if they had bothered to take some of these kids in for drinking."

Jacobski said he didn't know his son was at the party, adding he does not allow his son to go to "drinking parties."

Porter said he is looking into whether an officer was at the party. He also said it is "not necessarily true that an accident could have been avoided if the party had been broken up."

Melanie Plenda can be reached at mplenda@juneauempire.com.

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