The man who died in a head-on collision Wednesday north of Palmer is 34-year-old Sutton resident Michael Jenkins, according to family members, who are now uncertain about the fate of a dog in Jenkins' car.
Early reports from the Alaska State Troopers said Jenkins' car crossed the center line at Mile 64 of the Glenn Highway, smashing into a pickup going the other way. The car bounced into another vehicle, which appeared to be a van that landed in bushes at the scene.
Five people besides Jenkins were in the two other vehicles, and at least one person suffered minor injuries, troopers said. An investigation continues.
Jenkins' brother, Don Jenkins, said Thursday his golden retriever was in the car. It was unclear if the dog, Bear, was killed in the crash or ran away afterward, he said. Someone saw a dog jump out of a vehicle involved in the wreck, but there were conflicting reports as to what type of dog or which vehicle it was in, Don Jenkins said.
"I hope it was my dog," he said. "I've got a couple really devastated little girls here."
Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said there were two dogs, one that was not a golden retriever, and another that witnesses told troopers had jumped out of Jenkins' car and run off into the woods.
"It didn't come back," Peters said. "Some people looked for it briefly, but we were there to investigate the wreck and take care of the people on scene."
Anyone who sees the dog -- a neutered, male golden retriever last seen wearing a choke collar, according to the Jenkins' family -- should call the local animal control office, troopers said.
The Jenkins family says it is working on planning a memorial for Michael. He left behind a 6-year-old daughter, Willow, and a 3-year-old son, Orion, said Don Jenkins.
"He was just a great guy, he'd do anything for anybody that he knew. He was an avid hunter, loved the outdoors, loved his family," Don said. "He had two beautiful kids that he loved."
Reach Casey Grove at firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-4589.