Investigation of wreck involving trooper remains unresolved

Department of Transportation workers load the Alaska State Trooper Dodge Charger that was involved in a mid-February early-morning crash on the Kenai Spur Highway onto a flatbed truck. An Alaska motor vehicle collision report has revealed new details from the accident.

According to an Alaska motor vehicle collision report submitted by an Alaska State Trooper investigator, Trooper Thad Hamilton in February collided with a truck when its driver failed to yield for his emergency vehicle.

 

On Feb. 22 at 11:32 p.m., Hamilton was responding to a domestic violence call in Nikiski and collided with Soldotna resident Rodney Peterkin's Dodge extended cab truck. The collision occurred at the Kenai Spur Highway and Cook Inlet Drive intersection, according to the report.

Peterkin was traveling north toward Nikiski as he prepared to turn left onto Cook Inlet Drive from the highway. The trooper's vehicle had its lights and siren activated and was traveling in the same direction, according to the report.

The two vehicles collided as Peterkin turned left, and the trooper attempted to avoid the collision by veering into the southbound lane of the highway. The trooper's vehicle struck the Dodge on the driver's side near its cab. Hamilton's vehicle left the roadway and rolled multiple times down a snowbank, according to the report.

The accident totaled both vehicles, troopers reported.

Peterkin was issued a citation for failing to yield to an emergency vehicle on March 1, according to court records. He received minor injuries from the collision.

Investigating Trooper Eugene Fowler did not indicate in the report whether drugs or alcohol were suspected as a contributing factor of the collision. A blood alcohol test was not given to Peterkin, according to the report.

According to the report, invesitgators concluded that Peterkin had failed to observe a traffic control device and also made an improper turn.

Hamilton sustained severe injuries in the wreck and was transported to Central Peninsula Hospital.

A traffic trial was scheduled for April 26, but has been postponed twice.

In his two requests to continue the trial at a later date, Fowler said Hamilton remained unable to return to work. He is on injured leave, said Beth Ipsen, troopers' information officer. Hamilton is the key witness for the trial.

In the collision report, investigators indicated that Hamilton was not driving improperly.

The report also says the wreck occurred when the road was dark but illuminated, its surface was dry and the weather was clear.

The traffic trial is set for June 28 at the Kenai Courthouse.

Jerzy Shedlock can be reached at jerzy.shedlock@peninsulaclarion.com.

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