2 injured when truck hits tree

Medics fly out driver, passenger after crash near Cooper Landing

Posted: Sunday, November 26, 2006

An Anchor Point man and his passenger were flown to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage on Thursday in critical condition after their truck crashed into a tree near Cooper Landing.

Patrick Olarey, 20, of Anchor Point, and Rosing Boungnavath, 24, of Anchorage, were headed westbound on the Sterling Highway in a blue 2000 Ford Ranger when it veered across the opposite lane of traffic, entered the ditch and collided with a tree.

Alaska State Troopers, Cooper Landing and Moose Pass volunteer emergency responders were called to the scene of the accident at about 11 a.m. The accident occurred at Mile 45 of the highway near the Sunrise Inn in Cooper Landing.

Moose Pass Volunteer Company Chief Mike Turner said that when he arrived at the scene of the accident Boungnavath was being attended to in an ambulance, but Olarey was trapped in the crushed vehicle and had to be extricated.

“The roof was cut off and the doors were cut off,” he said. “It was totaled. The whole thing.”

He said the truck had run into a large spruce tree but he saw no evidence at the scene suggesting why the truck had gone off the road.

“He just ran off the road in a straight area,” he said. “I don’t know if there was something wrong with the vehicle. I’m not sure what caused the accident at all.”

The highway was closed to accommodate two helicopters that had been called to the accident. He said he did not know how long the highway had been closed, but estimated it took about an hour to extricate Olarey from the truck.

He said Olarey was conscious when they removed him from the vehicle but that he did not talk to Olarey and didn’t see or know if Boungnavath had been conscious.

A trooper report stated emergency responders do not know whether Olarey and Boungnavath had been wearing their seat belts when the accident occurred.

Patrice Kohl can be reached at patrice.kohl@peninsulaclarion.com.

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