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Traffic fatality closes highway Saturday morning

Two people died in a car crash Saturday morning that also closed the Seward Highway near Hope for nearly four hours.

At about 7:15 Saturday morning, Alaska State Troopers got a report of a two-vehicle collision at Mile 53.8, just south of Hope Junction. Troopers say that 47-year-old Neng Thao, of Anchorage, was driving south on the highway in a 1990 Toyota Tacoma, lost control of his vehicle on the icy road, crossed the centerline and struck a Toyota Rav 4 head on. The Rav 4 was driven by 37-year-old Presence Bissonette, from Seward. Bissonette and a passenger in Thao’s vehicle, 42-year-old Kaying Lee, of Anchorage, died at the scene.

According to the trooper report, Thao and two other passengers in the Tacoma were transported to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage. Their injuries appeared not to be life threatening. The report states that impairment of the driver does not appear to be a factor in the crash.

The highway opened to alternate lane traffic by 11:10 a.m. and reopened fully at 12:32 p.m. Overnight temperatures have been dipping below freezing along the highway through the Kenai Mountains over the weekend, with reported relative humidity in the area from 80-90 percent.

Jenny Neyman has been the general manager of KDLL since 2017. Before that she was a reporter and the Morning Edition host at KDLL.
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