State Briefs

Posted: Friday, October 12, 2001

Survivor of crash dies from injuries

DILLINGHAM - The only survivor of Wednesday's crash of a commuter airliner near Dillingham has died, bringing the death toll to 10.

Maryann Christensen of Port Heiden died at Alaska Native Medical Center on Thursday night, a hospital spokeswoman said. Christensen, 49, had worked as a personal care attendant for the Bristol Bay Native Association and was escorting patient Lena Matson, 73, home to Port Heiden.

The Cessna 208 Caravan was bound from Dillingham, about 330 miles southwest of Anchorage, to King Salmon, 75 miles southeast of Dillingham, when it crashed shortly after takeoff from the Dillingham airport.

Four passengers were board members of the Native association. Two others beside Christensen were association employees.

An eight-member team from National Transportation Safety Board headquarters in Washington, D.C., will investigate the crash.

Clint Johnson, a NTSB field investigator based in Anchorage, arrived Wednesday afternoon to secure the scene and take a preliminary look at the wreckage. The plane did not have a cockpit voice recorder or flight data recorder.

Threats land man in jail for 60 days

JUNEAU - A Haines man was sentenced to 60 days in prison Thursday after he pleaded guilty to threatening to kill his brother with a harpoon.

John Trautman, 28, was sentenced in Juneau Superior Court for misdemeanor assault stemming from an offense of Sept. 10 in Elfin Cove on Chichagof Island. The original charge was one count of felony assault and one count of misdemeanor assault.

Judge Larry Weeks sentenced Trautman to 180 days in prison with 120 days suspended, required him to enter an anger management and drug treatment program, forbid him to have unsupervised contact with his brother and placed him on probation for two years, in keeping with the plea agreement reached with the state.

Weeks also ordered Trautman not to consume any alcohol or go into any establishment where alcohol is served or sold.

In September, Trautman and his brother Steven were fishing in Elfin Cove when the two began arguing, said Sitka Assistant District Attorney Corinne Voorencamp. She said the argument escalated into a physical fight and John Trautman grabbed a harpoon and threatened to kill his brother by hitting him with the harpoon.

"I only threatened to kill him after he called the state troopers," Trautman explained to Judge Weeks before he was sentenced.

Driver pleads guilty to eluding police

JUNEAU - A man accused of leading the police in a high-speed chase in July could receive six and a half months in prison.

Franklin Hotch Jr., 30, pleaded guilty Wednesday in Juneau Superior Court to felony eluding the police, misdemeanor drunken driving and misdemeanor driving with a license suspended or revoked.

He also pleaded guilty to a charge of negligent driving stemming from a January offense in Haines. The original charge for the Haines incident was reckless endangerment.

As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors and the defense recommended a composite sentence of about six and half months in prison and a fine. The combined offenses carry a maximum penalty of six years in jail and a $55,000 fine. He is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 2, 2002.

Hotch was arrested July 27 for attempting to outrun the police when an officer tried to stop him for speeding while he was heading inbound on Egan Drive, said District Attorney Rick Svobodny.

Hotch sped up to nearly 100 mph and turned onto the Douglas Bridge, Svobodny said. Hotch turned around on the bridge and was stopped by a road closure on Gastineau Avenue, according to police.

Svobodny said Hotch told the police he had been drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana. Hotch's blood alcohol level was 0.114, Svobodny said, the threshold for drunken driving at the time being 0.10. This conviction is Hotch's third for drunken driving, said public defender David Seid.

The conviction for negligent driving stemmed from an altercation in Haines on Jan. 19 when Hotch was accused of driving his car onto a curb and nearly hitting a man with whom he was arguing.

Seid said he accepted the plea because it was a reasonable agreement and what his client wanted.

'West Wing' star tapes anti-ANWR ad

ANCHORAGE - Martin Sheen, the actor who portrays a fictional U.S. president on the TV show "West Wing," has taped a theater ad for a campaign against drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The ad, sponsored by the Alaska Wilderness League, is showing in movie theaters in Washington, D.C., and in 12 key states.

"The Arctic Refuge," Sheen intones, as golden-hued footage of musk oxen, caribou and bears plays on the screen. "Is it worth destroying forever, for six months of oil? This is Martin Sheen. Please act now. . . . Together, we can save what's left."

The ad has been running for several weeks. Campaign director Adam Kolton said 300 theaters have agreed to run it for free, and Sheen didn't charge for his voice-over.

The oft-repeated "six months of oil" argument is frustrating to drilling proponents. They say ANWR's oil wouldn't come out all at once and would last at least 20 years.

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