WASILLA -- A stretch of the Parks Highway near Wasilla was closed temporarily and three people were taken to the hospital for treatment Monday after a car rear-ended an Alaska State Trooper pickup and burst into flames.
Alaska State Trooper spokeswoman Megan Peters said trooper Cody Litster, 32, was stopped on the shoulder after checking on a vehicle in distress when the other car hit his pickup from behind.
It happened about noon in the southbound lane of the highway near the Trunk Road intersection.
Peters said Litster stepped out of his vehicle to check on a silver SUV in the ditch just past the Trunk Road bridge over the highway. No one was in that vehicle. Litster was back in his vehicle when a red Chrysler sedan struck his pickup, she said.
Rich Boothby of Central Mat-Su Fire Department said the Chrysler's engine caught fire after striking Litster's pickup.
Lilia Mardakhaeva, 37, of Wasilla, was driving the sedan. She and passenger Mary Frances Hoyle, 66, of Wasilla, were both taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, Peters said. Mardakhaeva's child, whom Peters did not identify, was not injured but accompanied the two women to the hospital. Peters did not know the nature of the women's injuries but said they were not burned.
Litster was also taken to the hospital, where he was assessed and released, Peters said.
The accident caused at least two other cars to slide off the road. Occupants of those vehicles were not injured.
Troopers kept the highway closed until about 3 p.m. to investigate the scene. During the closure, southbound traffic was rerouted using the Trunk Road on- and off-ramps.
Separately, Anchorage Police Department on Monday said an APD officer was injured slightly Saturday when his patrol car, which was stopped along the Glenn Highway, was struck by another vehicle.
This incident occurred at 3:42 p.m. near Fort Richardson. APD patrol officer Jesse Elmore was in his car, with emergency lights flashing, while another officer dealt with a vehicle in distress. While waiting, Elmore's car was struck by Anchorage driver Rex Wilhelm, 52. Elmore and Wilhelm suffered minor injuries, APD spokesman Lt. Dave Parker said. Wilhelm was cited for exceeding speeds reasonable for road conditions.
The pair of incidents has troopers and Anchorage police warning drivers to slow down and, when possible, switch to a different lane while passing stopped emergency vehicles and tow trucks.
Drivers that ignore the requirement to slow down could get charged with a misdemeanor if their actions result in injuries, or with an infraction if no injuries occur.
Find Rindi White online at adn.com/contact/rwhite or call her in Wasilla at 907-352-6709.