Letters to the Editor

Posted: Wednesday, March 07, 2001

2 dead because of head-on crash, not because of bad weather in pass

I read with sadness the account of Sunday's motor vehicle accident at Mile 63 of the Seward Highway involving Sheila Nikolas and her children. Sheila and her 6-year-old were killed, and the driver and passenger of the other vehicle were killed. Sheila's remaining children were injured but will recover.

The article spoke of the bad driving conditions on that part of the road, and that the other vehicle passed over the center line and hit her head on. (The Anchorage paper indicated that there was alcohol involved in the other vehicle, and it was going twice as fast as Sheila's when it swerved into her lane and hit her.) The Clarion article states that she was bringing the kids down to visit their dad in Soldotna. (Is that really our business?) And the article ended with the comment that, the only way to avoid these kinds of accidents is to stay off the roads when the weather is bad, and that it really comes down to making good decisions.

Sheila and Skylar Nikolas aren't dead because she drove through the pass in bad weather. They are dead because someone hit them head on. It is always a gamble when we drive through the pass in the winter. Rarely do we know what the road conditions are until we get there.

And, if she was bringing the kids down for a visitation, she may not have had much of a choice in delaying that trip. I don't think single parents can just call and say, "Sorry, you don't get the kids this week because the roads might be bad in the pass."

When the reporter stated, in effect, that Sheila made a bad choice and shouldn't have driven that day, he may have been trying to make some sense out of a tragedy, but it came off feeling more like a twist of the knife.

Vickie Tinker


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