Taylor Highway Driver Remains Missing

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

An Eagle River man remains missing along the Taylor Highway.  Alaska State troopers are looking for 56-year-old Charles Collins.  He’s believed to be the driver of the vehicle that careened 200 feet down an embankment earlier this week when heavy rains hit the Forty Mile region.  Alaska State Trooper spokeswoman Beth Ipsen says a citizen reported seeing a truck in a creek near mile 114 north of Chicken Tuesday.  Alaska Air National Guard para-rescuers checked on the submerged vehicle, and found no sign of any occupants.  Ipsen says Troopers continue to search for Collins using a helicopter and a hovercraft, but accessing the crash site is difficult.

Ipsen says additional rain and more high water are compromising the investigation.  She says there’s no road damage in the area of the accident, but the highway is slick due to rain.

Farenbacher says after the emergency road work is complete, a damage assessment will be conducted, but he expects it will take two to three weeks to make the Taylor Highway safe enough to re-open it to the general public.  He says area gold miners and other local residents will be allowed to travel the road during the repair phase.

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