Traffic accident claims 3

Emergency crews block the Glenn Highway near Mile 37 where a multiple-vehicle accident claimed the lives of three people Saturday evening.

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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