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Pickup crashes into Iditarod musher’s dog team along Mat-Su road

  • Author: Tegan Hanlon
  • Updated: November 14
  • Published November 13

A pickup hit a sled dog team training off Knik-Goose Bay Road late Tuesday morning, according to Alaska State Troopers.

A preliminary investigation revealed that a Volkswagen SUV rear-ended a Chevrolet pickup near Mile 12.5 of the road, troopers said in an online dispatch. The truck rolled, left the roadway and hit a sled dog team on a nearby trail, troopers said. Troopers got report of the wreck shortly after 11 a.m.

"A few dogs from a dog team training on a frontage trail were impacted by the Chevy," troopers said in the dispatch.

Andy Pohl identified the musher as his wife, Kristy Berington. Berington and her identical twin sister, Anna, are well-known Iditarod mushers. They operate a kennel in Knik.

Kristy Berington works with her dogs Dingo and Lobo at the Ruby checkpoint during the 2017 Iditarod. (Bob Hallinen / ADN archive)

On Tuesday, Kristy Berington was training a dog team of fellow musher Tom Knolmayer, Pohl said in a Facebook message.

"As of right now I have only spoken with Kristy briefly, she is obviously shaken up and is now very busy taking care of the rest of the dogs that were there at the crash," Pohl said.

The SUV's driver was taken to the hospital with injuries. Troopers said they believed the injuries were not life-threatening. The pickup's driver was checked by medics at the scene and then released.

"The musher left the scene prior to AST arrival to transport the involved dogs to a vet," troopers said.

Pohl said Anna Berington responded to the crash scene and took two injured dogs to a veterinarian. He said he didn't think Kristy Berington was injured in the crash, "but shaken up for sure."

Kristy Berington said in a text message later Tuesday: "The dogs are all okay."

Thank you all for the concerns and well wishes after this mornings accident. It could have been a complete tragedy. My...

Posted by Kristy Berington on Tuesday, November 13, 2018

In a Facebook post, Berington thanked people for their concerns and well wishes.

"It could have been a complete tragedy. My neighbor and I were running teams together like we always do," she wrote. "Talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I will share all of the love and prayers with the dogs. We are all okay."

Emergency responders with the Matanuska-Susitna Borough were called to the crash site Tuesday. The pickup and the SUV collided on an icy stretch of road, said Ken Barkley, deputy director of emergency services for the Mat-Su Borough.

"So the problem with the roads is: If the sun is beating on them, it's fine," he said. "If you get to a shaded area, it's automatically ice."

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