Teen dies in car crash

Sterling auto wreck leaves 1 dead, 2 hurt

Posted: Monday, May 01, 2006

A 14-year-old Sterling teen was killed in a car crash Saturday night in Sterling.

Cody Geesey, who attended Soldotna Middle School, died from injures suffered in a two-vehicle collision.

“He was a nice young man, very quiet, and was pretty much friends with everybody,” said Soldotna Middle School Principal Sharon Moock.

Geesey was a passenger in a 1988 Porsche driven by Joseph Noel, 18, of Soldotna. According to Alaska State Trooper Sgt. Barry Wilson, Noel was turning left off the Sterling Highway onto Forest Drive in Sterling at about 11 p.m. Noel turned in front of a 1998 Ford pickup driven by Brian Miller, 37, of Ninilchik, who was driving north on the highway. Miller’s pickup hit the Porsche on the passenger side as the car was turning.

Geesey died at the scene.

Wilson said alcohol was involved but was not a large contributing factor to the accident. He did not say who had been drinking. Speeding also was not factor, he said.

The closeness of the vehicles was. Wilson estimated the distance between the vehicles when Noel made the turn was about 20 feet.

“You’re talking about a quarter of a second for that car to go from there to there, that’s how much time the truck had to react,” Wilson said. “... Most people’s reaction time is about three-quarters of a second.”

“There were some poor driving decisions made prior to the accident,” he said.

Wilson said there’s two possible scenarios.

One is Noel thought he could make the turn before the truck got there — which matches descriptions witnesses gave of the accident.

“The other thought process is he didn’t see the truck and tried to make the turn. ... The outcome is the same,” he said.

Troopers are continuing their investigation. No charges have been or will be filed until the investigation is complete.

The Sterling Highway was closed for about an hour after the accident, and only one lane was open until about 3:30 a.m.

All involved in the crash were wearing seat belts. Noel and Miller were taken to Central Peninsula General Hospital, and Wilson said he thought both were released. When contacted Sunday evening, a CPGH nurse said she knew of no patients by those names currently at the hospital.

Moock said Sunday that Soldotna Middle would respond to the loss as outlined in the school district’s critical incident plan.

“We will be prepared tomorrow with whatever the kids need by way of extra counselors. Kids and staff,” she said. “... Obviously we’re shocked and saddened to lose a student, a very nice young man.”

The accident is a reminder of how serious unsafe driving can be.

“It was unfortunate, and lots of friends and family were at the scene and the ramification of people’s actions on the other people, not only yourself, but on friends and family, are really disheartening. People need to think of that when driving on the road,” Wilson said.

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