Soldier Badly Injured in Wreck Along ‘Extremely Icy’ Road Around Salcha

Jan 31, 2013

Updated: A 20-year-old Fort Wainwright soldier in listed in critical condition this morning at an Anchorage hospital where he’s being treated for injuries he sustained after being struck by a pickup in the parking lot of a roadhouse 50 miles south of Fairbanks.

Army Spec. Zachary New was medivacked Tuesday afternoon to Providence Alaska Medical Center from Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, where he was initially treated for injuries he sustained after he was struck by a pickup pulling a fifth-wheel trailer loaded with logs along a slick stretch of the Richardson Highway.
Alaska State Troopers say 20-year-old Forrest Hermanns, of Tok, was headed southbound on the Richardson when his rig struck a Humvee that was slowing down to turn into the Midway Lodge parking lot at about 2:45 p.m.
Army Lt. Col. Bill Coppernoll, a Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson spokesman, said the Humvee was among several Army vehicles that were convoying from Fort Wainwright to a Fort Greely training range.  
“The soldier was in a convoy traveling on the Richardson Highway, en route to Donnelly Training Area,” Coppernoll said.
Troopers say Hermanns’ pickup and trailer entered the Midway parking lot after the collision, apparently unable to stop, and struck New as he was getting out of a parked Humvee. Hermanns’ rig then collided with two Stryker armored vehicles that also were in the parking lot.
Soldiers convoying between Wainwright and Greely often stop at the Midway to regroup and get a bite to eat before continuing on.
Troopers say New, the injured soldier, was initially medivacked to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, before being medivacked again to Providence, in Anchorage.
No one else was injured.
Troopers say road conditions were “extremely icy.”
Investigators do not suspect Hermanns was under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
A Trooper spokeswoman said Wednesday that Hermanns has not been charged and an investigation continues.
The wreck was the second in eight days involving Army vehicles traveling on the Richardson  between the two Army posts. On Jan. 21, a southbound Stryker vehicle driven by a Fort Wainwright soldier rear-ended a van that had slowed to turn onto another road in Delta Junction.  The van driver was treated at a local clinic. The 21-year-old Stryker driver was cited for driving too fast for an icy roadway.