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INDIAN-Yesterday, August the 4th, at 1:42pm, Alaska State Troopers and the Bureau of Highway Patrol responded to an accident at mile 104.2 on the Seward highway, just outside of Indian.When they arrived, they found an accident with three vehicles involved.
Their preliminary investigation found that an 11-passenger Ford van carrying 8 people, driven by 72-year-old Lewis Hayes, crossed the center-line and impacted a Ford F-150 traveling south. The driver of the F-150 was identified as Jason Small.
After the impact, the van continued in the South-bound lane and crashed into a Chevy Suburban, driven by Dorota Balaban. Meanwhile, the pickup continued on and struck a rock wall adjacent to the highway.
As a result of the secondary collision, the Suburban burst into flames. All of the passengers exited that vehicle. But the van, that was now smashed against the Suburban, had two passengers trapped inside. Bystanders were able to locate a chain. They hooked the chain to a pickup at the scene to pull the two vehicles apart. Their action saved the lives of the people trapped in the van.
By this time, the Girdwood and Anchorage Fire Departments arrived at the scene. Using multiple rescue apparatus, they were able to extricate the trapped passengers and pickup driver. But, unfortunately, the driver of the pickup, Jason Small, succumbed to his injuries at the scene.
The driver of the van was airlifted by a LifeMed helicopter to Providence Medical Center for life threatening injuries. All of the other passengers of the van were transported to hospitals by ambulance for serious injuries. All passengers of the Suburban were treated at the scene for minor injuries.
All of the vehicles in the accident were a total loss. An investigation is continuing as to the exact cause of the accident. The accident caused a highway closure that was in effect until 10pm.