Wasilla woman swamps four-wheeler crossing Little Su with children

Zaz Hollander

WASILLA -- No one was injured after a 33-year-old woman got stuck in the Little Susitna River near Wasilla on Friday afternoon while trying to cross on a Polaris four-wheeler with three young children, Alaska State Troopers said.

Amber R. Watford was riding across the Little Su near the Schrock Road bridge with her 2-, 3- and 4-year-old children when she got stuck, troopers spokeswoman Beth Ipsen said. Watford immediately took the children off the four-wheeler and got them to shore.

She tried to turn the Polaris around after realizing she couldn't back up and "that's when the current caught the four-wheeler," Ipsen said. "She went bouncing down the river about 100 yards, maybe a little bit more. Then it got caught in an eddy so it stopped and it hooked on the river bottom and it flipped on its side."

Watford, with her frightened children watching, managed to get off the four-wheeler without getting trapped and then got it upright, the troopers spokeswoman said. But she ended up in about a foot of water on the other side of the river from her kids.

Three wildlife troopers doing sport fishing enforcement about five miles away got a call at 12:13 p.m. and rushed to the area, Ipsen said. They managed to get the four-wheeler out of the river.

Watford, who lives in the area, told the troopers she was just going for a ride, Ipsen said. They cited her for operating a motorized vehicle in a salmon stream and she was given a warning for trespassing because the area where she crossed is private property posted with "No Trespassing" signs, she said.

Reach Zaz Hollander at zhollander@adn.com or 257-4317.