A van hit and killed a state Department of Transportation employee putting out traffic cones at the scene of an earlier wreck Saturday on the Seward Highway, according to Alaska State Troopers.
The collision just south of the Alyeska Highway turnoff killed 60-year-old Girdwood resident Robert Hammel about 2:15 p.m., troopers said. The highway was closed for more than five hours as troopers investigated.
It started about 1:30 p.m. when a red Ford Explorer heading south smashed into a guardrail at Mile 87.7, troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said. A trooper on patrol stopped at that crash, on a curve in the highway, but was called away for another collision farther to the north, Peters said.
Back at the scene of the first collision, Hammel had stopped to help the driver of the damaged Explorer, Peters said. He was placing traffic cones to warn other drivers about the disabled SUV when a gold Dodge Caravan, driven by 86-year-old Seward resident John Sadusky, lost control and slammed into Hammel, his vehicle and the Explorer, Peters said.
Hammel was reported dead to 911 dispatchers, Peters said. Medics rushed Sadusky and his wife, 83-year-old Nancy Sadusky, to an Anchorage hospital, she said. The extent of their injuries was unknown late Saturday.
Traffic was reportedly backed up as troopers investigated the circumstances of the fatal collision and cleaned off the highway. The highway reopened just before 8 p.m., Peters said.
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By CASEY GROVEcasey.firstname.lastname@example.org