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Collision leaves 4 dead

Posted: Tuesday, March 06, 2001

Four people died in a two-vehicle accident on the Seward Highway Sunday and four others were transported to Providence Hospital and Alaska Native Medical Center with critical injuries.

Shortly after 6 p.m., Alaska State Troopers dispatched from the Girdwood post responded to a report of an accident with multiple injuries at Mile 63 of the Seward Highway at Granite Creek.

"(The cause) is still under investigation," said trooper Sgt. Lee Oly of the Girdwood Post. "Weather definitely played a factor with all of the snow blowing and the very poor visibility. There is also a possibility of alcohol being a contributing factor, but that is not confirmed yet."

Investigation by the troopers revealed a 2000 Daewo driven by Perry Bridgeman, 51, of Anchorage, slid out of control and crossed the center line into the southbound lane, colliding with a 1985 Chevrolet S-10 Blazer driven by Sheila Nikolas, 37, of Anchorage.

"At one point when we were driving up, there was a stretch of about a mile and a half that I could barely see beyond the hood of my vehicle," Oly said. "Apparently the weather wasn't as bad on the Soldotna side of the pass and people coming north may not have been aware of the conditions until they reached the pass."

Bridgeman and the passenger in the Daewo, 62-year-old Nancy Roberts, of Upland, Calif., were pronounced dead at the scene. Nikolas and her 6-year-old son, Skylar, also were pronounced dead at the scene.

Four passengers in the Blazer, a 43-year-old man and three of Nikolas' other children, ages 7, 9 and 10, were transported to Providence Hospital and Alaska Native Medical Center where they are being treated for their injuries.

"When they were taken to the hospital they were all conscious. They had suffered broken bones and some head trauma," Oly said. "None of the injuries (to the survivors) were life threatening, all of them are still OK."

The children riding as passengers in the Blazer were apparently heading to the Soldotna area for visitation with their father.

"It seem that the mother lived in Anchorage, while the father lived in the Soldotna area," Oly said. "It was a visitation situation where mom was taking the kids down to the dad."

Oly said there was only one simple way to avoid such a dangerous driving situation.

"To stay home would be the best way," he said. "It comes down to making the right decisions. If the weather is too bad then don't go out."



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