Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Tipped bike triggers other crash


August 24, 2017

A lost couple and their toppled motorcycle triggered an accident and another near collision on a hill off the Haines Highway Thursday afternoon.

A man and woman from Mexico traveling through Haines on their motorcycle pulled onto Cathedral View Drive because they were lost. Resident Valina Hansen saw them stopped at the stop sign as she turned into her neighborhood and said it appeared they needed directions.

She pulled over and attempted to speak with them, but realized the man didn’t speak English and the woman spoke broken English.

Hansen said they were looking for the Cliffhanger Bed and Breakfast and she gave them directions and drove home.

“We then heard a crash and then screaming,” Hansen said.

The couple on the motorcycle drove part way up the hill before turning around. On the steep, slippery gravel they spilled over. Another vehicle pulled onto Cathedral View Drive and saw the couple and their motorcycle on the ground, Hansen said.

“We didn’t hear that part. What we heard was the next part where another vehicle full of visitors taking a tour saw they were in need of help,” Hansen said. “The very kind gentleman who was driving quickly put the car in what he thought was park. The car was not all the way in park. With his door open the car started going backwards and hit him.”

The car’s open door snagged the man and he was dragged about 20 feet down the hill by his car until it stopped on an embankment off the road.

As the car rolled backwards, a local driver turning up Cathedral View Drive narrowly missed colliding with the out of control vehicle, which still had the man’s wife and child inside.

Hansen’s son, Manny, called 911 and they went back to the scene to help out. Valina Hansen put her husband’s coat under the man who was dragged into the embankment and placed a roll of toilet paper under his head as a makeshift pillow.

“He was making jokes right away,” Hansen said. “He said, ‘I don’t bend as well as I used to’ and ‘That’s what I get for trying to be a hero.’ Poor fella.”

Hansen said the man’s arms and legs were scraped up but didn’t notice any serious head wounds.

Police, ambulance and fire personnel responded to the accident and everyone involved in the accident was transported to the SEARHC clinic.

No one was medevacked, Haines ambulance captain Al Badgley said.

Sue Waterhouse hosted the Mexican couple for a night.

She said they’d driven their brand new BMW motorcycle up from Mexico on its maiden voyage. She said she could only communicate with the woman.

“She did end up having a broken arm,” Waterhouse said. “They got on the ferry and were headed to Bellingham. She was on pain meds and off they went.”

Hansen said there are lessons to be learned from the hubbub.

“If you stop to help somebody, make sure your car’s in park and get the car off the road so other people can come along,” Hansen said.


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