Fairbanks woman pleads no contest to assault, DWI charges

Posted: Sunday, October 21, 2001

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- A woman who drove her car into the Chena River, seriously injuring her young daughter, pleaded no contest to assault and drunk driving charges Friday.

Annie Ketzler, 26, drove drunk into the Chena River in downtown Fairbanks on July 6.

Police had been on the lookout for her 1997 Toyota Sedan after receiving a report of an inebriated driver striking a car in the Westmark Fairbanks Hotel parking lot. They received at least one more call reporting a car being struck by her vehicle.

Police said they had just spotted Ketzler's car and had started to pursue her when she drove into the river.

Off-duty Alaska State Trooper Larry Erickson was the first at the scene. He saw Ketzler wading toward shore from the mostly submerged car. From his radio, he knew there was a child inside.

Erickson forced open the rear passenger-side door, located 1-year-old Claire Ketzler in the murky water, and cut her out of her baby seat. The baby responded to cardiopulmonary resuscitation and was treated at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.

Annie Ketzler will be sentenced Jan. 31.

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