Port guard dies when pickup falls in water

Michelle Theriault Boots
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News

Police are investigating why a truck driven by a security guard working at the Port of Anchorage drove off a dock Monday night into Knik Arm, killing the driver.

The driver was identified as Joseph Renteria, 42, a long-term employee of Doyon Universal Services, which provides security at the port.

Anchorage Police spokesman Lt. Dave Parker said it wasn't yet clear why the crew-cab pickup went off the dock. The department is investigating.

A medical examiner will perform an autopsy on Renteria to determine whether a medical condition might have caused him to lose control of the vehicle and APD investigators will examine the truck for mechanical defects, Parker said.

The pickup went off a dock in the older section of the port at 7:21 p.m. Monday, officials said. The area of the port is used to dock cruise ships and cargo vessels, said Lindsay Whitt, a spokeswoman for the mayor's office.

A security video released by the port shows Renteria driving west down a roadway toward the water, appearing to pause then beginning to turn south down another roadway. While turning, the truck straightens and drives over a concrete curb at the dock's edge and into the water.

The water just off the dock was about 50 feet deep at that time, according to police spokesman Lt. Dave Parker.

Security guards regularly patrol the area, Whitt said. Renteria had been assigned to security patrols at the port for about a month, according to police.

At low tide on Tuesday, a recovery crew including commercial divers, the Coast Guard and a port crane operator hoisted the truck from the murky water. The truck was transferred to a nearby tugboat, where a team removed the driver's body for the medical examiner.

Renteria was a married veteran who had four children, according to family members. He lived in Eagle River.

Reach Michelle Theriault Boots at mtheriault@adn.com or 257-4344.

Anchorage Daily News