Three hospitalized after Steese Highway rollover

Posted: Tuesday, August 14, 2001

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Three people were hospitalized after a sport utility vehicle rolled several times on a muddy stretch of Steese Highway.

Levi Ballard, 21, of Fairbanks, the driver of the Jeep, suffered massive head and internal injuries and was in stable condition Sunday at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.

Passengers Michael Leake, 27, and Christine Leake, 23, both of Fairbanks, also were in stable condition. Other passengers Darae Leake, 27, of Fairbanks and Matthew VanDorp, 26, of North Pole were treated and released.

Rescue and ambulance crews had a hard time getting to the accident because of poor road conditions near Mile 35 of the Steese Highway, which is under construction, said Alaska State Trooper Lee Baker.

Ballard was driving the Jeep when it went off the shoulder at Mile 44.1., flipped several times and landed on its side in the middle of the road.

Baker said speed and muddy road conditions are the likely cause of the accident.

''It's nothing but mud out there,'' Baker said. ''There were a lot of potholes and the road conditions were terrible out there.''

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