Driver dies, children injured in Anchorage car crash

Posted: Thursday, May 30, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A mother died and her two children were injured when a car smashed into a utility pole Wednesday night on a busy Anchorage street.

Karen A. Montes, 28, was pronounced dead at the scene on Lake Otis Parkway. Her two daughters, Ianna, 8, and Guselle, 6, suffered broken legs and were taken to Alaska Regional Hospital.

A witness called 911 at 9:36 p.m. to report a northbound 1994 Buick Regal had tried to pass a silver 1987 Volvo station wagon. The Buick sideswiped the Volvo and skidded into a wooden utility pole, police said.

Witnesses told police that Montes was driving fast and weaving in and out of traffic before the crash.

A team of 10 firefighters worked to extract two children from the crumpled Buick.

Nearby residents who heard the screeching and impact ran out to try to help, but the Buick's occupants were trapped inside the mangled sedan.

Firefighters extracted the first child at 10:05 p.m. and the second 10 minutes later.

The driver of the Volvo, Diane M. Bigelow, 47, was not injured.

Some neighbors said speeding and quick lane changes are problems on that stretch of Lake Otis, where northbound traffic narrows from two lanes to one.

''They're all zipping through and going right around you,'' said Gene Greenfield, who lives on the block north of the crash scene. ''It's a 35 mph zone, but nobody abides by that, nobody.''

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