Troopers identify Israeli men killed in car crash

Posted: Sunday, August 24, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) The two Israeli men killed in a car crash on the Seward Highway were in Alaska on a vacation, a rabbi who spoke to their families said Friday.

Uri Mayseless, 21, and Oren Simon, 22, both of Haifa, died after a northbound pickup truck crossed a double yellow line and crashed head-on into their rental car Wednesday night.

Mayseless was a student at Technion, the Israeli Institute of Technology, a prestigious academy of higher learning, said Rabbi Yossi Greenberg, head of the Lubavitch Jewish Center of Alaska. He said both were of an age when they would have just completed military service.

Both died at the scene of the accident at Mile 74 near the bottom of the climb to Turnagain Pass.

Also killed was pickup truck driver Feodor Fefelov, 45, who lived in the Homer area. Five family members in the truck were injured.

The crash was the second three-person fatality north of the pass about 50 road mile south of Anchorage in less than a week.

Law enforcement and emergency officials who worked both accidents said they could not remember when there was so much bloodshed on the highway in such a short period.

''The Seward Highway is probably the most dangerous road in Alaska,'' Girdwood trooper Sgt. Keith Mallard told the Anchorage Daily News. ''I would venture to guess that there are more fatalities there than on any other highway in the state. ... I think the most important lesson to learn is to be patient.''

The crash occurred on a stretch where there are two lanes for southbound traffic and a single, no-passing lane for northbound drivers. The area is notorious for people speeding and passing in the no-passing zones, troopers said.

Troopers said Fefelov was driving his Chevrolet pickup north when he crossed a double yellow line to pass and collided head-on with an oncoming Hyundai rental car with the Israeli nationals.

Simon swerved right, into the slow traffic lane, to avoid the pickup. Troopers said Fefelov swerved left and slammed into their car.

A 1-year-old girl was ejected from the truck in her car seat. The child was discovered on the pavement about 50 feet from where the truck came to a rest. She suffered only minor scrapes, Mallard said.

''Last night was one of the most technically difficult extrications I have seen in 25 years, due to the nature of the wreckage,'' said Girdwood Fire Chief William Chadwick.

In the truck with Fefelov was his wife, Afimia, 42; his son Kir, 13; his daughter, Solomonia, 23; Solomonia's husband, Nikolai Murachev; and the couple's 1-year-old daughter, Akilina.

Afimia Fefelov was flown via helicopter to Providence Alaska Medical Center. The rest of the family was taken by ambulance to Alaska Regional Hospital, troopers said.

Randy Creamer, principal at Kachemak Selo Elementary School, said Fefelov's family was one of the first to settle in the village of 250 people. Fefelov was a fisherman in Cook Inlet and a leader in the community, he said.

''He's probably been here close to 20 years,'' Creamer said. ''He was well liked by everybody.''

In an Aug. 15 collision, a Ford Mustang was driving north at high speed and was passing vehicles when it hydroplaned on the rain-slicked highway and slammed into an oncoming motor home near Mile 73. Both vehicles burst into flames.

The driver of the Mustang, 25-year-old Eduardo Prieto of Eagle River, and passengers, Brian Bullock, 24, also of Eagle River, and Quianna Clay, 25, of Anchorage, were killed.

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