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Driver in fatal Atka crash charged with manslaughter, assault, DUI

  • Author: Tegan Hanlon
  • Updated: June 20, 2016
  • Published June 20, 2016

A patient is taken out of an ambulance at the Adak clinic after a vehicle rollover in Atka on Tuesday, June 14, 2016. (Scott Langley / ADN reader submission)

A 28-year-old man faces multiple felony charges after Alaska State Troopers said Monday that he was driving a van under the influence in Atka last week when it crashed, killing three passengers.

Sonny Iloilo, a 28-year-old from Anchorage, faces three manslaughter charges, six assault charges and one driving under the influence charge. A warrant was issued for his arrest, troopers said in an online dispatch Monday.

On June 14, Iloilo was behind the wheel of a van with nine passengers — employees of Atka Pride Seafoods, a fish processing plant. The ten people were driving from the plant to a bunkhouse for dinner, according to Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association. Atka Pride Seafoods is a subsidiary of the association.

Troopers said Monday that while Iloilo was driving the van on a straight stretch of road, toward the airport, the van drifted off the roadway. Iloilo turned the wheel in the opposite direction in attempt to get it back on the road.

"The overcorrection caused the vehicle to then roll multiple times," troopers said in the online dispatch. "It came to rest on the opposite side of the roadway."

No one in the van wore a seat belt, troopers said.

[Van rollover in Atka kills 3 fish plant workers, injures 6]

Three men died in the crash and six people, including Iloilo, were flown from the tiny Aleutian village of Atka to Adak and later to Anchorage for treatment of their injuries. Another man, identified as 31-year-old Jonathan Merculief of Unalaska, was not transported, troopers said.

Troopers identified the men killed in the crash as 43-year-old Ray McCullough Jr., 51-year-old Mike Tunohun Jr. and 57-year-old Paul Nicholas Nesbit.

The six people transported for treatment of their injuries were Jacob Bernet, 32, of Anchorage; Jesus Hernandez, 66, of California; Steven Nyberg, 48; Loelu Siatuu, 26, of Anchorage; Boulay Vilavong, 54, of Anchorage; and Iloilo, according to troopers.

Troopers cited the factors leading to the fatal crash as speed, impairment of the driver and the failure to wear seat belts.

A troopers spokeswoman did not respond to requests Monday evening for additional information.

Ellen Krsnak, director of communications for Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association, said she could not answer questions regarding Iloilo's employment history of the current condition of those injured in the crash.

She sent a statement from the association that described its mission to "develop stable economies in its six member communities in Western Alaska, including Atka."

"We are deeply saddened to hear the results of the Alaska State Troopers' investigation into the vehicle accident that took the lives of three of our employees and injured six others," the statement said. "The criminal charges, if proved, mean Mr. Iloilo violated our strict policies concerning alcohol consumption and state laws and, in so doing, created immeasurable harm."

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