Alaska News

1 dead in Parks Highway crash near Cantwell

Update, Monday, 4 p.m.: Alaska State Troopers have identified the person who died in a fiery crash on the Parks Highway last week as 59-year-old Russell Benzel of Fairbanks.

Original Story: Alaska State Troopers were investigating a fiery crash that killed a driver near Cantwell early Thursday morning, restricting traffic in the area along the Parks Highway.

Troopers said they were first told of the crash near Mile 194 of the Parks at about 4:30 a.m.

"Initial reports revealed Karl Reid, 61 years old of North Pole, was driving alone in a UPS tractor trailer northbound on the Parks Highway when a box van crossed the center line," troopers wrote in an online dispatch. The vehicles collided, and the box van caught fire.

Reid, who was uninjured, tried to pull the other driver out of the burning vehicle but wasn't able to, according to troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters.

The box van was privately owned, Peters said.

The dead driver was the only person in the van, she said. The family will be notified once the driver has been positively identified.


It's not yet known if drugs or alcohol were a factor in the crash.

Commercial vehicle enforcement inspectors from the state Department of Transportation and Public Facilities responded to the crash Thursday morning.

Correction: This article originally said the tractor-trailer "struck" the box van; troopers later said the box van crossed the center line before the two vehicles collided.