(Editor’s note: This article has been updated. Alaska State Troopers incorrectly identified Michael Franklin as resident of Homer, Alaska. Franklin was from Palmer, Alaska. The Clarion regrets this error.)
A two-vehicle collision near Happy Valley killed a Homer man on Sunday.
Authorities pronounced Michael Franklin, 18, dead from his injuries at the scene. His family has been notified.
According to Alaska State Trooper spokesperson Ken Marsh, investigating troopers said they believe the crash happened as Franklin drove north near Mile 142 Sterling Highway and his green Subaru crossed into the oncoming lane, hitting a pickup truck driven by 39-year-old Garrett Bowley. Troopers said Barrett tried to avoid hitting the Subaru but could not avoid the impact.
According to a press release from Anchor Point Fire and Emergency Medical Services Acting Chief Jon Marsh, EMTs and firefighters arrived at about 4:20 p.m. to find the Subaru engulfed in flames. Thirteen Anchor Point firefighters and EMTs responded with a rescue engine, a tanker, two ambulances and other vehicles. Ninilchik EMS also provided an engine, two ambulances and nine firefighters and EMTs. Initial attack crews knocked down the fire quickly.
Medics treated three patients from the truck with non-life threatening injuries and took them to South Peninsula Hospital. A LifeMed helicopter and crew transported a patient with more critical injuries to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage.
Marsh said troopers did not find any initial indication that drugs or alcohol was involved in the crash. Toxicology tests were done, but results will not be known for about eight weeks. Marsh said no charges have been filed because the apparent at-fault driver, Franklin, died.
In a text alert sent at 4:52 p.m., troopers wrote that the highway was temporarily closed near Mile 142 Sterling Highway. In a follow-up text at 6:32 p.m., troopers wrote that a detour around the collision had opened the highway, about a 1 hour, 40 minute closure. Troopers closed the highway not only so firefighters could put out the fire and EMTs could treat the injured, but so the LifeMed helicopter could land in the road.