Two multivehicle crashes in 2 hours close E. 15th Ave.

Benjamin S. Brasch
A multiple car crash on 15th Ave and Sitka St. closed 15th Friday morning, December 20, 2013.
Benjamin S. Brasch
A four-vehicle collision closed 15th Avenue for the second time Friday morning, December 20, 2013. Including the three Friday, there have been 15 collisions at 15th Avenue and Sitka Street, according to Anchorage police.
Benjamin S. Brasch

Two multi-vehicle crashes sent four people to the hospital and kept a stretch of East 15th Avenue in Anchorage closed for hours Friday morning.

According to police statistics, Friday's crashes bring the total to 15 collisions on 15th Avenue near Sitka Street since Nov. 1, said Jennifer Castro, police spokeswoman. Seven of the 15 have been in the past week, which included Anchorage's biggest snowfall of the season so far.

The first wreck sent four people to a local hospital with injuries ranging between difficulty breathing to a leg injury, said police spokeswoman Anita Shell.

The three-vehicle collision shut down eastbound lanes of 15th Avenue from Orca Street to Lake Otis Parkway for less than an hour, she said.

Police called for sand trucks to help with the icy road conditions.

Almost an hour later, police shut down 15th Avenue again starting at Medfra Street after a four-vehicle crash near Sitka Street, said Anchorage police Sgt. Jeff Morton.

A truck heading west on 15th Avenue swerved into an eastbound lane and caused a chain reaction of crashes involving three vehicles, he said.

No one was injured, he said. Police re-opened the road at 11:10 p.m., Castro said.

Mary Pedlow, 57, said she sees vehicles spin out of control on 15th Avenue a few times a week.

She said she grabs her steering wheel until her knuckles are white every time she changes lanes because ruts on the road yank her toward other vehicles.

"All the sand in the world isn't going to save that road," she said.

Reach Benjamin Brasch at or 257-4349. Twitter: