A Fort Wainwright soldier was severely injured Tuesday afternoon after Alaska State Troopers say a pickup truck struck several vehicles from a military convoy, including his Humvee, in a parking lot off the Richardson Highway near Salcha.
U.S. Army Alaska spokesperson Lt. Col. Bill Coppernoll identifies the injured man as Spc. Zachary New, 20, a member of Fort Wainwright’s 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.
An AST dispatch Wednesday says the troopers responded shortly before 3 p.m. Tuesday to the crash, in the Midway Lodge's parking lot at Mile 315 of the Richardson. The incident began as vehicles in the convoy, followed by 20-year-old driver Forrest Hermanns of Tok, were pulling into the lot.
“(Hermanns) was driving a 3/4 ton GMC pickup with a large trailer loaded with logs for sale,” troopers wrote. “Hermanns struck a (U.S.) Army Humvee that was slowing and preparing to turn into the parking lot. (His) vehicle continued into the parking lot, striking a soldier exiting a parked Humvee and then two parked (Stryker) armored vehicles.”
According to AST spokesperson Megan Peters, New was driving the parked Humvee and was getting out of the vehicle when it was hit. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the pickup truck struck New directly during the crash.
New was initially flown to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital for treatment of life-threatening injuries, with the Associated Press listing him in critical condition Wednesday at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage. Hermanns wasn’t hurt, and none of the vehicles involved suffered significant damage.
“There was no indication that alcohol or drugs were a factor. Road conditions were extremely icy,” troopers wrote in the dispatch.
Peters says no citations or charges have been filed in the incident, which remains under investigation.
Contact Chris Klint