Traffic is backed up on the Homer Spit late Friday afternoon on June 20, 2023, in Homer, Alaska, while Homer Police and Homer Volunteer Fire Department staff respond to a tourist injured when she was hit by a car that veered onto the bike trail. (Photo by Christina Whiting/Special to the Homer News).

Traffic is backed up on the Homer Spit late Friday afternoon on June 20, 2023, in Homer, Alaska, while Homer Police and Homer Volunteer Fire Department staff respond to a tourist injured when she was hit by a car that veered onto the bike trail. (Photo by Christina Whiting/Special to the Homer News).

Spit crash that injured tourist also killed her dog

Arkansas woman suffered major injuries when driver veered into her on the Homer Spit Trail

A Homer Spit car crash June 30 that severely injured an Arkansas woman also killed one of her two dogs.

In an update July 5, Homer Police Chief Mark Robl wrote in an email that Lily Casteel, 21, had been walking with her two dogs on the Homer Spit multiuse trail when a car heading outbound and driven by Tyler Brewer-Cote, 18, of Homer, crossed into the other lane and veered onto the trail, hitting Casteel and killing one of her of dogs. The second dog was not injured, Robl wrote.

Casteel suffered major injuries and had to be transported by a Medevac aircraft to an Anchorage hospital. According to police reports last week, Casteel was in stable condition.

Because of medical privacy laws, police do not receive updates from hospitals on a patient’s condition except in the event of a fatality, Robl wrote. Police have received no updates on Casteel’s condition as of last Wednesday morning.

The crash was reported about 4:40 p.m. June 30 and closed or delayed traffic until about 9:30 p.m. The crash happened at a section of the east side of the Spit Road that did not have a guardrail and near the area of Louie’s Lagoon, Robl wrote.

An investigation into the crash remains ongoing as of last Wednesday, Robl wrote. Police had a blood draw done of Brewer-Cote to test for intoxicants. When police complete their investigation, the report will be sent to the Kenai District Attorney for a charging decision. As of Wednesday, no charges had been made against Brewer-Cote, Robl wrote.

Robl explained that police closed the road for almost five hours not only to treat and transport the victim, but to investigate the crash.

“Taking care of the victims and preventing the accident from getting any worse is our priority, of course,” he wrote. “… We do a thorough forensic scene examination for the purpose of trying to identify the cause of the accident, mitigating factors for the drivers involved, exact locations and on and on.”

Police investigate things like the speeds of vehicles involved, direction of travel which may not be apparent, environmental factors, roadway conditions, and other aspects, Robl wrote.

“We also look at the overall scene to see if something missing might have prevented the accident if it had been there — caution signs, better lighting, rumble strips and so on,” Robl wrote. “The more serious the accident is, the longer it takes us to get the job done, especially if some of the people involved can’t talk to us. We can’t take anything for granted.”

Michael Armstrong is a retired reporter and editor for the Homer News working part-time while staff are on vacation. Reach him at marmstrong@homernews.com.

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