Nearly 13 years after the death of Anchorage Police Department Officer Justin Wollam and three other people in a head-on Glenn Highway collision, APD unveiled a memorial Tuesday at the crash site near Eagle River.
"With this memorial, we remember, honor and thank Officer Wollam and recognize his true servant heart," said APD Chief Mark Mew at the dedication ceremony.
Wollam's family was in attendance, along with several dozen members of law enforcement. His brother Russell Wollam thanked APD and the community for their support in the years since his brother's death.
"We lost our loved one, but as his family we have found a home in the big hearts of you all," he said.
The bronze memorial plaque summarizes the chain of events that led to the deadly crash on July 9, 2001. After leading police on a chase which led from East to South Anchorage and ultimately to the Glenn Highway near Eagle River, "...the suspect deliberately drove across the median into Officer Wollam's lane, colliding head-on into Officer Wollam's vehicle."
Wollam, the other driver -- Robert Esper, 19 -- and two of Esper's passengers, 16-year-old Makayla Lewis and 14-year-old Heidi Weilbacher, were all killed. Savanah Fielding, a third passenger in Esper's vehicle who was 15 at the time, was critically injured; police say Esper had been drinking on the day of the crash.
"I can only hope that the loss of Officer Wollam will continue to remind us of what is at stake when we make poor decisions," Mew said.
According to APD, the Wollam memorial is the result of a dedicated effort in recent years to establish one.