Old Glenn wreck badly injures woman, closes highway

Casey Grove

A Palmer woman was in critical condition at an Anchorage hospital late Friday after a wreck that closed the Old Glenn Highway for more than four hours earlier in the day, according to the hospital and Alaska State Troopers.

The woman, 32-year-old Amber Helmann, was driving a Nissan Sentra southbound around a curve in the highway at Mile 6, about two miles south of the Knik River bridge, when she lost control on the icy surface, troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said. The car went into the northbound lane, where a Dodge Ram pickup driven by 31-year-old Houston resident Jesse Greene was coming around the bend, Peters said.

"The guy tried to avoid her but ended up striking the rear, right-side corner panel of her little car," Peters said.

Troopers initially thought the collision had been head-on, Peters said. Greene called 911 to report the wreck at 10:25 a.m. Friday and Helmann, severely injured, was trapped inside the car until 10:55 a.m., the troopers spokeswoman said.

"It was definitely life-threatening," Peters said.

Once firefighters extricated Helmann from the car, medics drove her to a spot where a helicopter could pick her up, Peters said. Helmann was then taken to Providence Alaska Medical Center, where she was initially listed in serious condition, a Providence spokeswoman said. Late Friday, the hospital updated Helmann's status, saying she was in critical condition, their most serious classification.

Peters said the highway was closed until about 3 p.m. Friday so troopers could investigate at the crash scene.

Reach Casey Grove at casey.grove@adn.com or 257-4589.