Speed claims 3 more lives on Seward Highway
by Megan Baldino
Anchorage, Alaska, Aug. 21 - Another tragic accident on the Seward Highway. Less
than one week and one mile from where a triple fatality occurred Aug. 15,
another triple fatality happened Wednesday night when two vehicles collided near
At the Alaska State Troopers' impound lot, there's not much left of the pickup
truck or the Hyundai that crashed head-on about 9:30 p.m.
The driver of the pickup died, as did the
driver and passenger of the sedan -- all because the driver of the pickup wanted
to get to wherever he was going a little faster.
At the state troopers' impound lot, the pickup
shows how even an airbag can't save everyone.
Debris still littered the highway Thursday
morning near Mile 74, but most motorists passed without noticing. If they'd seen
what happened here the previous night, they just might slow down.
"The roads were dry," said AST Sgt. Keith
Mallard. "It was just someone passing when they shouldn't have been."
That someone apparently was the driver of the
pickup truck, 45-year-old Feodor Fefelov. Troopers say he was driving like so
many other people on the Seward Highway -- in a hurry.
"It certainly is getting a little bit too
familiar for us," said Mallard.
Fefelov was traveling northbound when he tried
to pass some slower traffic. He crossed the double yellow line illegally and
ended up in the southbound passing lane. Unfortunately, there was another car
already in the lane. Both cars tried to avoid each other, but troopers say they
both swerved the same direction and collided head-on.
The wreckage of the Hyundai sits in the impound
yard. Both occupants were killed.
"Both occupants of the passenger vehicle died,"
Sgt. Mallard said. "The driver of the truck also died."
Five passengers in the pickup were taken to
Anchorage hospitals, including a 42-year-old women in serious condition and a
1-year-old infant who was ejected from the truck, still in her car seat.
"It was an extremely high-speed crash," said
Girdwood Fire Chief Bill Chadwick. He and his crew responded to the scene
Chadwick said accidents on this stretch of
highway are becoming far too frequent.
The other fatal accident, last Friday night,
also was the result of speeding. Three young people died in that accident when
their Ford Mustang hit a motorhome head-on. A mother and daughter in the
motorhome were pulled from the wreckage just before it exploded, and were taken
to the hospital with injuries that, fortunately, were not life-threatening.
"To be quite frank about it, we've been
expecting a major accident or two or three or more like this, just because of
the way people have been driving," Chadwick said.
Too fast, too competitive, too recklessly.
Chadwick and Sgt. Mallard, who was still
examining the two vehicles Thursday at the impound lot, are urging drivers to be
"Just be a little bit patient," Mallard said.
"Know that getting in front of that car in front of you is not going to get you
there any sooner, especially this time of year when the traffic is so heavy."
Sgt. Mallard and other troopers plan to step up
enforcement of speeding and passing laws.
More than their own warnings, Mallard and
Chadwick hope that mental images like these crumpled cars and this memorial will
slow drivers down. "Life is too short to end up in a crumpled piece of metal
next to the highway," Chadwick said.
As for the survivors from the pickup truck,
42-year-old Afimia Fefelov is listed in serious condition at Providence Alaska
Medical Center, and 13-year-old Kir Fefelov is listed in stable condition at
Alaska Regional Hospital.
Solomonia Fefelov, 23, was treated and released
from Alaska Regional, as was 1-year-old Akilina Murachev.
Nikolai Murachev is listed in stable condition
at Alaska Regional.
Chadwick said Thursday that, according to
people who first arrived on the scene, the baby was crawling away from the
accident -- at least one miracle from the tragedy.
Alaska State Troopers say they are going to be
out in force on that stretch of the Seward Highway, watching for drivers who are
breaking the law by speeding and passing illegally.
Source: Anchorage Daily News, 21