3 motorcycle riders killed in traffic accident - Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman: News

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3 motorcycle riders killed in traffic accident

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Posted: Tuesday, May 6, 2014 11:45 am | Updated: 11:49 am, Tue May 6, 2014.

PALMER — Three motorcyclists died in a collision near Mile 37, Glenn Highway Saturday evening.

Emergency responders were called to the scene around 7:49 p.m., May 3, for a report of a crash involving multiple cars and motorcycles.

Trooper spokesperson Tim DeSpain said he was initially unclear about the number of vehicles involved. But a dispatch released later from the Alaska State Troopers says the on-scene investigation determined that a driver, Slade A. Storud, 19, had stopped his 1987 Ford F-250 in the northbound lanes of the Glenn Highway, near Kepler Lakes, to make a left turn into a driveway.

Troopers say he was struck from behind by a 2010 Chevrolet van driven by Dakota J. Letherman, 18, which forced the Ford truck into the path of four southbound Harley-Davidson motorcyclists.

Medics pronounced three of the riders dead shortly after reaching the scene. The deceased are husband and wife, James D. and Sabrina A. Carlyle, of Wasilla, and Elaine J. Loew, 63, of Anchorage.

Loew was a longtime employee of the Municipality of Anchorage. She was a legal secretary in the Municipal Attorney’s Office and had been with the Municipality since 1988, according to a press release from the city.

All four riders were members of the Harley Owners Group Alaska Chapter 66. Loew was an ambassador with the group.

Throughout the weekend, messages poured into the group’s Facebook page expressing shock, sadness and condolences. Before the weekend was out, an impromptu memorial had been held at the House of Harley in Anchorage, and orders were being taken for patches to commemorate Loew and the Carlyles.

“Thank you to all who gathered at the House today to comfort each other and offer your support. I am truly blessed to be a part of this community,” read a Facebook update from the House of Harley following the gathering there.

DeSpain said the couples were riding in tandem down the two-lane highway when the Ford was pushed into their lane. He said the fourth rider, Elaine Loew’s husband Paul, was not injured.

Services for Elaine Loew at at noon, May 9 at the Anchorage City Church.

No services have been announced for  James and Sabrina Carlyle of Wasilla who also died in the crash.

DeSpain said the investigation is ongoing and will determine if any charges are appropriate. He said troopers won’t know whether drugs or alcohol contributed to the accident until they get the blood toxicology reports back.

The Glenn Highway between the Parks Highway and Palmer was closed for about four and a half hours Saturday night while emergency responders and law enforcement worked the scene, DeSpain said.

Contact Heather A. Resz at 352-2268 or heather.resz@frontiersman.com.

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • Csbarber posted at 10:17 pm on Tue, May 27, 2014.

    Csbarber Posts: 1

    This accident killed my sister in law & her husband. Two people that enjoyed life & never stopped smiling. Nice attitude paininthebutte "just another biker, move on" well screw you!!! Now there are 5 children in there 20's without parents along with other children. Hollie907 guess we'll see what comes back & I agree these kids have to live with this but so does our family you need to keep this in mind too. Don't think family doesn't read the posts! We would all like to know exactly what happened and hopefully soon we will know.

  • Hollie907 posted at 6:32 am on Thu, May 8, 2014.

    Hollie907 Posts: 1

    Vlyspbxr: First its Male not Mail. in addition to this why should he be charged with murder? How do you know he wasn't driving as safe as possible and this was just a horrible accident. You will soon see he wasn't texting & driving as many assume.

    Your additional comment as to his parent and the lack of teaching him responsibilities on the road way are ignorant also! I know his parent(mother) personally and she is a very respectful parent. She has taught her son the ways of-the road and personally every time I have seen this child drive it has been very law abiding and safe. Sometimes in life accidents happen, we are all human and no matter what we do people makes mistakes. This mistake has been made and now he has to live with this for the rest of his life (as well as Slade whom could have stopped short without signaling in advance, or turned his wheels the wrong direction). We all don't know the full story, we were not there. Just remember if you have ever been in a accident could you have prevented it? Was it your fault? I think this may have been a combination of many mistakes made at once to result in this sad accident. Remember what's done is done and now everyone has to live with the loss or their mistakes. Don't makes assumptions that's only for a small mind setting. Wait for the facts and you will see this is simply a series of mistakes that resulted in horrible accident.

  • Kay Rae posted at 7:56 pm on Tue, May 6, 2014.

    Kay Rae Posts: 5

    Please go easy. This is an incredibly sad accident. No news has been released about the condition of the driver who struck the truck. These are young mean, let us please remember that.

  • vlyspbxr posted at 7:52 pm on Mon, May 5, 2014.

    vlyspbxr Posts: 25

    I am soooo beyond angry about this accident. Sadly, the driver that caused it should be charged with murder. Add to that, the education policy and curriculum decision makers in our state also have blood on their hands for eliminating driver's education from required high school course of study.

    Every single day I see horrific driving on our roadways, mostly by young mail drivers. They are not learning to drive beyond just getting by to pass the far to easy driving test. Parents certainly are not teaching them to drive or instilling responsibility that should go with driving. This was a needless slaughter of a long time valley family by an irresponsible person who was not yet mature enough, or experienced enough, to be driving.

    Return serious driver's education to the classroom. Stiffen the DMV testing. Hold texting, distracted drivers accountable for their actions. A vehicle is a tool, not a toy and is far too often a deadly weapon.

  • PainintheButte posted at 11:08 am on Mon, May 5, 2014.

    PainintheButte Posts: 184

    Yes, justAnotherBiker,move along

  • JustAnotherBiker posted at 5:47 am on Mon, May 5, 2014.

    JustAnotherBiker Posts: 1

    Minimally, a negligent homicide charge should be pursued - murder if the kid was intoxicated.. This kind of stupidity is sickening..

  • SawyerFam posted at 11:40 am on Sun, May 4, 2014.

    SawyerFam Posts: 1

    Our hearts are broken by this news. A couple who gave every once of themselves to others, especially to their children. The two of you and your family will be included in our prayers.

  • quyanna posted at 8:53 am on Sun, May 4, 2014.

    quyanna Posts: 6

    slade is not 29 he is 19

  • AK58 posted at 7:49 am on Sun, May 4, 2014.

    AK58 Posts: 121

    So painful for all involved. Let's all try to be more careful. This is a terrible reminder, as the summer driving season starts, to pay maximum attention to the driving.

  • UnionWorker posted at 7:31 am on Sun, May 4, 2014.

    UnionWorker Posts: 3

    Left hand turns should not be allowed along this part of the highway. Too busy, too much going on, too many deaths.

  • Onermailliw1 posted at 5:45 am on Sun, May 4, 2014.

    Onermailliw1 Posts: 581

    RIP truly a sad chain of events led to this. Please people, pay attention while driving. That text or call can wait.


Reflections Lake viewing tower opens

The 35-foot-tall, wildlife-viewing tower is now open to the public on the backside of Reflections Lake, Knik River Access Exit, Mile 30.5, Glenn Highway, in the Palmer Hay Flats State Game Refuge. The tower offers views of the Knik and Matanuska rivers and surrounding Chugach, Talkeetna and Alaska mountain ranges, as well as opportunities to view and photograph migrating waterfowl, songbirds, moose and other wildlife.

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