State Briefs

Posted: Monday, December 24, 2001

Man killed in avalanche near Hope

ANCHORAGE - An Anchorage man died in an avalanche Sunday afternoon while snowmachining near Hope.

The slide occurred in the Swetmann Mine area of the Chugach National Forest, about 12 miles south of Hope, Alaska State Troopers said.

Russel Foster, 35, was one of about a dozen snowmachiners in the area. Foster and another rider had broken away from the others when the snow slid toward them.

Foster had an avalanche beacon on him and the other snowmachiners were able to dig him out from under about four feet of snow 20-30 minutes after the slide occurred. Though the group was equipped with gear including beacons and shovels, "by the time they dug him out, it was still too late," said trooper spokesman Greg Wilkinson.

The death is the third caused by avalanches this winter in Alaska. Rebecca Patton, 30, died after a Nov. 11 slide in Hatcher Pass while she was snowshoeing. Donovan Lee, 37, died Dec. 12 while snowmachining near Cordova.

Man dies in crash with stolen truck

ANCHORAGE - An Anchorage man died early Sunday after his truck was broadsided by a speeding stolen pickup, according to Anchorage police.

The victim was identified as Edward Wong, 51.

Wong was trying to cross C Street about 4:30 a.m. when the stolen truck slammed into the driver's side of his vehicle, police said. An officer clocked it at 80 miles an hour shortly before the crash, police reported.

The three people in the stolen truck were injured in the crash, but none of the injuries appear life-threatening.

The driver, identified as Joel Ruby, 33, was taken to Alaska Native Medical Center. Passengers Hurbert Koonuk and Sherrell Tooyak, both 21, were taken to Providence hospital.

Police say they three had been drinking at a bar prior to the accident. The truck was reported stolen Saturday morning.

Man robs Anchorage bank

ANCHORAGE - A lone robber held up a bank in the Muldoon area Saturday afternoon, according to Anchorage police.

The man got an unknown amount of cash after he approached a teller, told the teller he had a gun and asked for money, said Ron McGee, police spokesman. "He indicated he had a weapon, but nobody ever saw it," McGee said.

About 30 employees and customers were inside the bank when the robbery occurred just before 4 p.m., police said.

The FBI will investigate the crime, which is standard practice for bank robberies.

Troopers stop well-stocked teen

FAIRBANKS - An 18-year-old apparently attempting to smuggle about 75 bottles of alcohol up the Dalton Highway was thwarted by Alaska State Troopers on Saturday afternoon at the Dalton Highway checkpoint.

Troopers refused to identify the suspect or provide details of the case until the teen is summoned. The person is accused of smuggling the liquor, mostly whiskey but some beer and wine, according to Sgt. Dave Drvenkar, and is expected to be summoned to court on felony charges.

"That amount is a little much for personal use," Drvenkar said. "It would show the intent to have it for sale."

The 18-year-old motorist was turned back to Fairbanks and the alcohol was confiscated, Drvenkar said.

Compiled from wire reports.



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