Two die after rental car crosses center line, hits motorcycles

Posted: Thursday, July 10, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) Two motorcyclists were killed and another seriously injured Wednesday morning on the Parks Highway near Trapper Creek, Alaska State Troopers said.

A northbound car crossed the center line, hitting the last three motorcycles in a southbound, six-motorcycle group from Ohio, according to trooper reports.

Trapper Creek is about 115 road miles north of Anchorage.

Troopers identified the couple in the car as Ben Shimbo, 73, and his wife, Etsu Shimbo, 64, both of Kirkland, Wash.

The car, a Kia Optima rental, hit the first motorcycle head-on and either sideswiped or T-boned the next two, troopers said.

One motorcyclist died at the scene. He was reportedly not wearing a helmet, troopers said. Another motorcyclist was flown to Anchorage with serious injuries and did not survive. A third motorcyclist remains hospitalized with unknown injuries, troopers said.

The Shimbos were transported to Valley Hospital. Their injuries were not life-threatening, troopers said.

A van behind the motorcycles swerved off the right-hand side of the road to avoid the crash, damaging the vehicle but not causing any injuries, they said.

The accident occurred on a ''very mild curve'' on a stretch of the Parks at Mile 116.5, troopers spokesman Greg Wilkinson said. ''They just faded right over the line.''

There was no immediate indication that alcohol was involved, Wilkinson said.

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