Multiple accidents lead to injuries, fatalities over weekend in Sterling, Cooper Landing

An Eagle River man was airlifted to the hospital with serious injuries after a head-on collision on the Sterling Highway Saturday afternoon.

The accident, which took place on mile 48 of the highway in Cooper Landing around 3:15 p.m., happened after the driver of a northbound Chevrolet Silverado crossed the centerline and struck a gray Ford F350 pickup, according to an online Alaska State Trooper dispatch.

The 63-year-old driver of the Chevrolet, Dennis B. Brandenburger, was taken by air ambulance to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage. The driver of the F350, Walter P. Lindl, 61, and his passenger reported that they had received minor injuries and declined emergency medical services, according to the dispatch. Troopers reported that occupants of both vehicles were wearing their seat belts at the time of the accident.

The incident was just one of a handful of crashes that snarled traffic and killed two people — including an 8-year-old boy — over the weekend.

On Friday, a Kasilof man suffered injuries after a single-vehicle motorcycle accident near mile 51 of the Sterling Highway. John J. Bezilla, 66, was taken to the emergency room at Central Peninsula Hospital after reacting late to a motor home merging into a pullout on the northbound side of the highway, according to an online trooper dispatch. Bezilla, who was driving a Harley Davidson, locked up his rear tire, laid the motorcycle down, and slid into the southbound ditch, according to troopers. Alcohol or drugs are not believed to be a factor in the collision.

Multiple accidents caused major roadway congestion and killed two people Thursday.

At about 8:30 a.m. Thursday, traffic was brought to a standstill for several miles along the Sterling Highway after an international semi-truck landed in a ditch near mile 49. The driver of the truck, Taumohaapai Filise, 43, of Anchorage, was driving north when he pulled aside to allow an oversized load to pass, according to a trooper dispatch. The passenger side of the semi slipped off the shoulder of the road, however, and landed in the ditch. The vehicle was eventually removed from the ditch and the road cleared by 5:30 p.m., according to troopers.

Noah Schwebach, 8, of Eagle River, was killed Thursday afternoon near mile 58.7 of the Sterling Highway, west of Cooper Landing after a “volleyball-sized” rock fell off the back of a rock truck and struck the windshield of the Volkswagen GTI Hatchback he was riding in. Miles 58 through 79 are under extensive construction for a highway improvement project and has large vehicles moving in and out of the area regularly.

Troopers wrote in a dispatch update Saturday that they were working with the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities and Granite Construction to determine what happened. The vehicle the rock came from has been tentatively identified and troopers are trying to determine the circumstances surrounding the incident, including what the vehicle was hauling at the time, according to the dispatch.

Witnesses or anyone with information are asked to call the Soldotna trooper post at 262-4453.

At around 5 p.m. Thursday, Sterling resident Michael Corteg, 60, was killed after his BMW motorcycle collided witha Chevy pickup truck on Peacefull Circle in Sterling. The Chevy had been trying to turn left onto Sandline Drive and saw the motorcyclist coming and tried to swerve left, but Corteg also swerved left and hit the front passenger side of the truck, according to an online trooper dispatch.

Corteg thrown off the bike and landed off the road with life-threatening injuries. He died at the scene, according to the dispatch. He had been wearing a helmet.

Elizabeth Earl contributed to this report.

More in News

The Homer Spit stretching into Kachemak Bay is seen here on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020 in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
Homer woman indicted over seaplane incident

Marian Tillion Beck was indicted on charges of negligent operation of a vessel and attempted interference with the navigation of a sea plane

Soldotna High School can be seen in this Sept. 2, 2021, photo, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion file)
‘Little Sweethearts’ family dance to debut at SoHi

The event will be hosted by SoHi’s freshmen student council

Soldotna City Council members interview city manager applicant Elke Doom (on screen) during a special city council meeting on Monday, Jan. 30, 2023. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Doom, Bower named finalists for Soldotna manager gig

The two will visit Soldotna for in-person meetings on Feb. 7 and 13, respectively

The northern fur seal rescued by Alaska SeaLife Center staff is seen on Jan. 31, 2023, at the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Kaiti Grant/Alaska SeaLife Center)
Northern fur seal pup admitted to SeaLife Center rescue program

The pup was reported by Sitka residents using the center’s 24-hour stranding hotline

The Kenai Community Library children’s section is seen on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Literary competition returns to local schools

Battle of the Books aims to instill in kids a love of reading

Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire
Climate activists hold a rally outside the Alaska State Capitol Friday afternoon in advocacy for legislative action to improve Alaska’s renewable energy development and future sustainability.
Climate activists hold rally near the Capitol

Statewide organizations advocate for legislative action

Shanon Davis, the executive director of the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce, hands out candy during the Sweeny’s St. Patrick’s Parade in Soldotna on March 17, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Davis to step down as Soldotna chamber head

Davis oversaw the implementation of Soldotna’s “Holding Our Own,” shop local program

Golden-yellow birch trees and spruce frame a view of Aurora Lagoon and Portlock Glacier from a trail in the Cottonwood-Eastland Unit of Kachemak Bay State Park off East End Road on Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021, near Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong)
State parks advisory boards accepting applictions

Alaska State Park advisory boards provide state park managers with recommendations on management issues

Most Read