Accident at bridge results in two fatalities

A bridgeside traffic accident was discovered Monday evening, one which resulted in two fatalities and left two more passengers critically injured.

Rainie Doak was traveling with her three children northbound on Zimovia Highway late Sunday or early Monday morning. Doak is believed to have been at the wheel when the Ford Expedition lost control approaching the Pats Creek Bridge, about 12 miles south of Wrangell.

The road approaches the bridge at an angle and conditions that evening had been wet. Police also suspect the sports utility vehicle had been traveling at highspeed, its tires leaving a yaw mark on the pavement in front of the turnoff to Pats Creek Road. It had missed the railing on the bridge's eastern side, heading down the slope into the creek. The vehicle appears to have struck a stump and was upturned in the process, before coming to rest in the creek bed about 200 feet from the road.

The occupants had been thrown clear of the wreckage, and police believe seatbelts had not been in use at the time of the crash.

The incident went undiscovered for 17 or 18 hours before being reported by a nearby resident who was on a walk. The trajectory of the vehicle had kept close to the ridge adjacent to the bridge, and from most angles would be easily missed by passing vehicles. The pedestrian had first thought the debris had been litter, but on closer inspection saw the wreckage and scattered occupants. He ran home and called for emergency services at 6:22 p.m.

Twenty-two responders arrived soon afterward. The driver and one minor had been killed at the scene, another was in critical condition and a third injured but stable. The surviving passengers were evacuated by air for treatment in Seattle that evening, and both are reportedly in stable condition.

Responders had concluded their emergency work by 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, and the Expedition was collected later that next day. Some laboratory work and additional questioning was still being undertaken, so the cause of the accident remains undetermined.

Community response to the accident has been heartfelt, with some businesses and an impromptu support walk dedicating their proceeds from Tuesday to assist the survivors. A support page has been set up for the Doak family at http://www.GoFundMe.com/doak-family, and within 17 hours raised half of its $10,000 goal.

 

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