Two people were rushed to a clinic and later released after a fiery two-car collision on Prince of Wales Island Wednesday, according to Alaska State Troopers.
Mayor Don “Nick” Nickerson says the two cars collided about two miles north of Klawock.
“Our roads are super icy from the weather we’ve been having. We’ve had snow and rain, so with all that happening, it just compacted itself into ice. And it’s very unfortunate this accident did happen. I think if we had some grit material put on our roads, it could have been prevented,” Nickerson said in a phone interview.
Photos posted to social media show one car in flames as firefighters work to extinguish the blaze.
Nickerson says he hasn’t seen this much snow and ice on Prince of Wales Island in over 20 years. He says he’s calling on the state to keep key roads on the island passable.
“I’m hoping that the Department of Transportation does get out there and get the main veins sanded. I really just think it’s important. As it is, it’s really hard for emergency vehicles to respond to any areas out on our highways, with the roads in these conditions, not only for our safety, but the safety of all members of the community,” Nickerson said.
DOT’s deputy director for the Southcoast Region, Pat Carroll, says state crews are sanding roads on the island.
“Our primary effort is on hills and corners. Not so much straightaways,” Carroll said. “In response to, I believe, the same accident, they came out and sanded that stretch of road as well. So we are trying to do the best we can with our resources and keeping the roads safe for the public.”
He says the unusually snowy and cold weather is straining the department’s resources. He says the Klawock station is also short-staffed.
A state trooper spokesperson encouraged drivers to leave early, keep distance between their vehicles and those ahead of them, and to always drive for the current conditions.