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

Tree smashes car driving highway


A tree fell and smashed the windshield of a moving car at 18 Mile Haines Highway during Sunday night’s high winds.

Driver John Hill and passenger Lisa Stevens had left Klukwan and were headed into town around 7:30 p.m. when the accident occurred.

Hill said he was driving about 50 mph when Stevens warned him of a leaning tree. “I had no time to react whatsoever. No time at all,” Hill said. Stevens said she covered her face immediately.

After hitting the windshield, the cottonwood tree, about 18 inches in diameter, bounced off the roof of Stevens’ red 1999 Ford Explorer.

“There was glass everywhere. It was all on our laps,” Hill said. The windshield had caved in, shattering pieces into the car.

Injuries were minor and were limited to small cuts.

Several people in passing vehicles stopped to offer assistance, including Michael Willard, who said Hill and Stevens were just getting out of the car when he got there. “John looked a little dazed,” Willard said. The tree, which had stood on the mountain side of the road, lay sprawled across both lanes.

Tim Banks said three or four vehicles were already there when he stopped. “I wanted to make sure everybody was okay,” he said, noting that the windshield was “totally shattered.” Banks took his handsaw out of his car and sawed the fallen tree in half. Those who pulled over moved the tree out of the road.

Hill and Stevens returned to Klukwan. Hill said he was shocked by the randam nature of the wreck. “What poor timing. The timing just seemed ridiculous.”


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