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Mat-Su

Iditarod musher injured when team struck by vehicle along Parks Hwy.

Karin Hendrickson, a six-time Iditarod musher, was hospitalized late Tuesday after being hit by a vehicle while training with her dogs along the Parks Highway in the Willow area.

According to posts from Hendrickson on her Facebook page late Tuesday and early Wednesday, the musher suffered a broken back and broken leg and was taken first to Mat-Su Regional Medical Center and subsequently to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage.

"Looks like I'm going to be out of commission for awhile," Hendrickson wrote in a status update Tuesday evening. "At Mat su regional emergency waiting to be transported to anchorage. Broken back and leg. One team dog still missing but everyone else amazingly just minor injuries. Could have been so much worse." In a subsequent post Wednesday morning, Hendrickson wrote that she was at Providence.

Alaska State Troopers received a report of a musher injured by a vehicle around 7:30 p.m., according to Megan Peters, a troopers spokeswoman, said Tuesday.

Patty Sullivan, a spokeswoman for the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, said the crash occurred around Mile 91 of the Parks Highway.

A helicopter was unable to land at the scene due to weather conditions, according to Clint Vardeman, the borough's deputy emergency services director.

Wednesday morning Alaska State Troopers released a few additional details about the collision. Troopers said driver Mabel Quilliam, 68, of Talkeetna left the road and struck the all-terrain vehicle that Hendrickson was driving as her 16-dog team pulled it. It wasn't immediately clear what caused Quilliam to drive off the road, though icy conditions were reported Tuesday night throughout the Valley.

Hendrickson's mother Gwen Rodman did not have an update on her daughter's condition late Tuesday, though said she was admitted to the emergency room at Mat-Su Regional Medical Center.

"It's been quite a shocking evening," Rodman said from her home in Mount Baldy, Calif.

She first learned of the wreck after logging onto Facebook. She said she had multiple messages from her daughter's friends inquiring about her condition and offering help.

Tuesday night there was no immediate word on injuries to Hendrickson's dogs or whether any had escaped.

A post on the Willow Dog Mushers Association's Facebook page Wednesday morning said that "All of Karin's doggies have made it back home including Sable."

Hendrickson works for the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation's pesticide control program and ran her sixth Iditarod in 2014, according to her biography on the race's website. She is entered to race in the 2015 Iditarod as well.

Gwenn Bogart, a musher living in Willow, also confirmed that her friend Hendrickson had been injured Tuesday. She said she and other mushers frequently train on the stretch of road where the crash occurred.

"If you drive along out here you see four-wheeler and ATV tracks along the road and that's where we do most of our training," Bogart said. "I know from my own experience it's awful going on the road at night."

Kasilof musher Jon Little lost four dogs during a training run in September 2008 after a team driven by a handler got hit by a vehicle while crossing the busy Sterling Highway. Another dog needed major surgery on his foot.

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