Update Sunday morning: Troopers have notified the next of kin of the three victims and have identified them as James D. Carlyle, 53; Sabrina A. Carlyle, 47; and Elaine J. Loew, 64. There hometowns were not immediately available, nor was the fourth injured motorcycle rider identified.
Troopers also provided more details on the other vehicles and of the collision, which they said was first reported at 7:49 p.m.
A 1987 Ford pickup driven by Slade Storud, 29, had stopped in the northbound lane of the Glenn to make a left turn into a driveway. The pickup was struck in the rear by a 2010 Chevrolet van driven by Dakota Letherman, 19. The collision pushed the pickup into the southbound lane directly in the path of the four Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
Three motorcyclists were killed Saturday evening on the Glenn Highway south of Palmer when they collided head-on with a car that had just been rear-ended, a spokesman for the Alaska State Troopers said.
According to preliminary information from the scene, four motorcycles were traveling in tandem northbound on the Glenn Highway near Mile 37 after 8 p.m. A vehicle in the opposite lane had stopped to make a turn and was struck from behind, pushing it across the highway into the opposing lane, troopers spokesman Tim DeSpain said.
All four motorcycles struck the car. Three of the motorcyclists were declared dead at the scene and the fourth was taken to the hospital in unknown condition, DeSpain said. The occupants of the vehicles did not appear to be seriously injured. No names were available Saturday night.
The wreck occurred about two miles north of the Parks-Glenn highways interchange near Echo Lake and Kepler-Bradley Lakes. The Glenn is a two-lane highway there.
DeSpain said about 9 p.m. that the accident closed the Glenn in both directions. Traffic was being re-routed through the Parks Highway and Trunk Road. DeSpain said he expected the road to reopen at about 11:30 p.m.
Saturday was warm and clear and a perfect day for mid-spring motorcycle riding, the first big weekend day of the season. The annual City Church and ABATE of Alaska Bike Blessing took place earlier in the day on the Park Strip and was attended by Gov. Sean Parnell, who tweeted, "Safe riding!"
Paul Ramage, general manager of Denali Harley-Davidson, said the accident was a horrible end to "an awesome celebration" of biking. About 300 people showed up for an open house at the dealership after the blessing on the Park Strip.
"People were going in all directions today," Ramage said. "People were going to Talkeetna, people were going south."
By RICHARD MAUER