March 14, 2013 | Volume 43, Number 10

Collision ends in canal

A 17-year-old Haines youth said he considers himself lucky to walk away with cuts and bruises from a Saturday night wreck that sent his Toyota pickup into Lynn Canal near the Letnikof Dock.

“I’m pretty lucky to be alive and come out with no broken bones. I’m damned lucky. If the truck landed on the hood, I’d probably have drowned,” said Corey Piper, a Haines High School senior.

Piper said he was driving to town at about 9:30 p.m. Saturday when he hit a boulder in the middle of the road he estimated was more than two feet high. Piper said he now believes the collision tore off the vehicle’s driver’s side tire, as he was unable to keep the truck on the road.

The truck crossed the lane and dropped down a steep embankment and into water there. “It did some kind of flips or whatever, but it ended up upright,” he said.

Piper said his next memory was sitting in the cab, waist deep in water, looking for his cell phone. His shoes had come off, he said, and, as all the truck’s windows were broken out, he crawled out through the windshield and into water that was over his knees.

Piper said he climbed back up to the road and started jogging in stocking feet toward homes near the old Haines Packing Cannery. He went to the home of resident Mike Mackowiak at 5.3 Mile Mud Bay Road, who called in the accident.

Piper received X-rays at the local clinic and a CAT scan in Juneau, said mom Tammy Piper. It appears his injuries are limited to some cuts on his head, a black eye, perhaps some whiplash and a burn on his neck from his seat belt. “He’s lucky. He came out of it really not bad. I said, ‘You see why I bark at you for putting your seat belt on all the time?’ I don’t think he would have lived if he wasn’t seat-belted in.”

The truck Piper was driving was a black, mid-90s vintage pickup his grandfather used to haul wood, she said.

Corey Piper said he was traveling at about 30 or 35 mph when the collision occurred.