A 31-year-old man from Wasilla lost control of his car on Sunday and flew off the side of a famously treacherous road on the Kenai Peninsula while trying to elude the Alaska State Troopers.
Shortly after Saturday shifted to Sunday, troopers received a Report Every Dangerous Driver Immediately (REDDI) call about a driver who’d turned onto Funny River Road from Soldotna.
Troopers located the 1995 Mercury Cougar at about Milepost 13 of the winding road, but the driver refused to stop, and instead took off starting on a dangerous chase -- the unnamed driver continued outbound on Funny River Road speeding between 45 and 65 miles per hour.
The pursuit eventually ended in a ditch. The driver -- drunk or not -- was playing against the odds. Once Funny River Road lolls past the Soldotna Airport, some small businesses and a golf course, the pavement begins to rise and dip, curving in either direction alongside steep hills littered with spruce trees. Running beside the Kenai River, the road leads drivers from one side of Soldotna to the other. The drive along Funny River Road also traverses a seldom-visited, six-mile stretch of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Moose cross the road ad nauseam, especially in the winter.
After speeding on the main thoroughfare for about two miles, the driver turned onto York Street. Troopers say he continued his attempted escape but eventually lost control of the Cougar and drove off the right side of the roadway, striking a power pole about two to three feet off the ground.
The entire pursuit, from the first point of contact with troopers to the crash, lasted a mere four minutes, said troopers’ spokesperson Megan Peters.
A broken section of the pole reportedly was still hanging in the air by its power lines. There was no power outage due to the crash.
The Wasilla man was unresponsive following the crash. Central Emergency Services, which is the Central Kenai Peninsula’s fire service, and Homer Electric Association were both contacted and responded to the scene of the crash.
CES took the driver to Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna, nearly 20 miles from the scene of the crash. Peters could not verify the driver’s current condition.