Alaska State Troopers have identified the couple killed after a crash on Knik-Goose Bay Road in Wasilla Wednesday -- the third accident on the road since December.
According to troopers, at about 11:15 a.m. a Chevrolet Trailblazer traveling toward Wasilla driven by Russell Thompson of Wasilla, 37, crossed the centerline near Mile 11 of the road and collided head-on with a Chevrolet pickup driven by 31-year-old James Kistler of Wasilla.
Two passengers in the Trailblazer, 83-year-old Arlys Scates of Wasilla and his 76-year-old wife Beulah, were killed by the crash. Beulah Scates died on the scene, while Arlys Scates died at the hospital due to his injuries. The two drivers were taken to area hospitals for serious injuries.
Mat-Su Borough leaders remembered the Scateses Thursday as caring people deeply involved in their community. Arlys Scates was chair of the borough's Port Commission from January 2003 to December 2006, and a port commissioner from 2001 to 2003.
Borough Assembly member Noel Woods served on the commission with Scates.
"He always gave good advice and really thought that we should make sure the port project went ahead as fast as it could," Woods said. "We lost a really fine gentleman, someone who helped the borough a lot."
“He was a strong supporter of development at Port MacKenzie. He was a real leader. He’ll be sorely missed,” said the port's director, Marc Van Dongen.
Knik-Goose Bay Road was closed Wednesday afternoon, with traffic redirected through a residential area, while troopers investigated the scene.
Troopers say that alcohol was not a factor in the crash, and that all involved were wearing seat belts. Officials say poor road conditions caused by freeze-thaw weather appear to have been a contributing factor.