Fairbanks representative injured in car accident

Posted: Thursday, January 24, 2002

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Fairbanks Rep. Joe Hayes was hospitalized Tuesday night after a two-vehicle accident in Juneau.

Police said the accident occurred about 7:20 p.m. when Hayes, driving a 1986 Mercury Topaz, ran a red light and was struck broadside by a 1999 Dodge Ram pickup driven by a Juneau woman.

Police cited Hayes for failing to stop at the light.

''He had a concussion, he had a cut over his left eye, he got banged around a little and he had some bruises,'' said Sheryl Washburn, patient care coordinator at Bartlett Regional Hospital.

Hayes' passenger and the three occupants of the Dodge Ram did not need medical attention. Hospital officials said Hayes was kept at the hospital overnight primarily for observation.

Hayes had just attended a legislative reception by the Juneau Empire when the accident occurred at Channel Drive and Egan Drive, the expressway leading from downtown Juneau to the Mendenhall Valley.

Police said there was no indication alcohol was involved. Hayes told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner that he never drinks during the legislative session.

The 31-year-old freshman Democrat said he is sore, has a terrible headache, and feels fortunate to be alive.

''I don't really remember what happened beyond leaving the Juneau Empire and heading down the road,'' he said. ''A Juneau police officer told me he thought I was dead, looking at the accident.''

Juneau police Sgt. Dave Wrightson said the force of the collision sent Hayes' vehicle about 300 feet down the road. Hayes' car, which had just been shipped down from Fairbanks on Sunday, was demolished. The Dodge Ram sustained about $6,000 in damage.

Hayes said he hopes to return to his legislative duties Friday or Monday.

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