Alaska State Troopers have released the names of three people seriously injured when two vehicles smashed into each other Sunday afternoon near Willow.
It was about 1:30 p.m. when emergency dispatchers got a call about a wreck at Mile 81.2 of the Parks Highway, troopers said. Investigators learned that David J. Ulvestad, a 58-year-old Talkeetna resident, was driving north in a blue 2003 Dodge Dakota that crossed into the oncoming lane.
Ulvestad's pickup first drove across the southbound lane, went into a pullout alongside the highway and hit a guardrail, troopers said. The pickup then bounced back onto the roadway and smashed into a red 2006 Jeep Commander, with 44-year-old Anchorage resident Lisa Ellison behind the wheel and 39-year-old Eagle River resident Julie Vogus-Richards in the passenger seat.
There was no way for Ellison to avoid the collision, troopers said. All three involved were seriously injured and firefighters had to extricate them from the vehicles.
The crash closed the road for a couple of hours, causing traffic to back up in both directions, according to troopers.
A helicopter flew Ulvestad and Vogus-Richards to Alaska Regional Hospital in Anchorage. Ellison was taken by ambulance to Mat-Su Regional Hospital in Palmer, according to troopers.
An investigation into why Ulvestad's pickup left its lane continues, troopers said.
Reach Casey Grove at firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-4589.