Alaska State Troopers and local law enforcement agencies in Ketchikan arrested a woman on Friday, Feb. 5, 2021 in possession of more than a quarter of a million dollars worth of drugs at the Ketchikan International Airport. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)

Alaska State Troopers and local law enforcement agencies in Ketchikan arrested a woman on Friday, Feb. 5, 2021 in possession of more than a quarter of a million dollars worth of drugs at the Ketchikan International Airport. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)

Semi-truck crash marks fourth major car accident in 10 days

There was another vehicle accident on the Sterling Highway this morning, according to the state Department of Public Safety Public Information Office.

This marks the fourth major car wreck on the central peninsula since July 17.

David Ross, the police chief at the Kenai Police Department, said he’s not sure what exactly is causing all the accidents, but that he wants to implore people to take precautions while driving.

“Slow down, pay attention, eliminate the distractions … don’t drink and drive,” Ross said.

Tuesday morning, the Alaska State Troopers were notified of a head-on collision around Mile 142 on the Sterling Highway, which is just south of Ninilchik, involving a semi-truck and a pickup.

All three individuals involved in the wreck — two in the pickup and one in the semi — were transported to an area hospital. One of the passengers in the pickup was transported by LifeFlight, according to Public Safety.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

The Department of Environmental Conservation also arrived on the scene, because the semi-truck driver was hauling crude oil.

On Sunday a California woman, 60-year-old Nancy Christiansen, was pronounced dead at Central Peninsula Hospital after she crossed the center line on the Sterling Highway and crashed into two cars. Her body has been sent to the State Medical Examiner’s office for an autopsy.

New information from Public Safety suggests that neither alcohol nor drugs are believed to be factors in the wreck and that Christiansen was for sure wearing a seatbelt, but the investigation is ongoing.

On July 17, a collision on the Sterling Highway killed three people and caught fire to two vehicles. On that same day an Idaho man, Samuel Helmuth, was killed in a rollover crash in Soldotna.

Ross said statistically, the Kenai Police Department is reporting about the same number of investigated vehicle collisions now as it was in 2019 and 2020.

But, he said, he thinks “the basics hold true:” don’t drive distracted and don’t drive impaired.

Reach reporter Camille Botello at camille.botello@peninsulaclarion.com.

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