First responders find truck off Baycrest Overlook; driver not hurt

  • Aaron Glidden, a member of Kachemak Emergency Services, makes his way down the slope near Baycrest Overlook on Monday, July 24, 2017 in Homer, Alaska. First responders found a pickup truck that had fallen over the edge after hitting a guard rail on the Sterling Highway, and searched for a possible victim until getting a report that the driver had crashed several days earlier and had walked away uninjured. Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News
  • Joe Sallee, Deputy Chief at Kachemak Emergency Services, uses binoculars at the end of a ladder extended from the KES ladder truck to search the slope near Baycrest Overlook on Monday, July 24, 2017 in Homer, Alaska. First responders found a pickup truck that had fallen over the edge after hitting a guard rail, and searched for a possible victim until getting a report that the driver had crashed several days earlier and had walked away uninjured. Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News
  • A first responder directs an oncoming truck around the cones set out to give crews space while they responded to a report of a truck that had fallen over the edge near Baycrest Overlook on Monday, July 24, 2017 in Homer, Alaska. First responders found the pickup truck that had fallen over the edge after hitting a guard rail, and searched for a possible victim until getting a report that the driver had crashed several days earlier and had walked away uninjured. Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News
  • First responders wait while a ladder truck is set up to allow firefighters to climb up and get a better view of the slope near Baycrest Overlook on Monday, July 24, 2017 in Homer, Alaska. First responders found a pickup truck that had fallen over the edge after hitting a guard rail, and searched for a possible victim until getting a report that the driver had crashed several days earlier and had walked away uninjured. Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News

This story has been updated at 5:20 p.m. to confirm that Homer Police contacted the crash victim.

Members of the Homer Volunteer Fire Department and Kachemak Emergency Services spent about three hours searching for a possible victim of a car accident on Monday after responding to the Baycrest Overlook on the Sterling Highway for a truck that had crashed through the guard rail and fallen over the edge. Friends of the driver, Thayr Watson, 32, later came by the scene and reported Watson had crashed his truck a few days earlier and walked away from the crash.

A maintenance worker with the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities at about 11:30 a.m. reported the bent guard rail on the Sterling Highway to Homer Police, as well as evidence that a vehicle had gone over the edge into the trees. Several passersby Monday mentioned seeing the bent guard rail as early as two days ago, according to authorities on the scene.

Watson crashed his truck there a few days ago and walked away unharmed, his friends told first responders at the scene. Watson had been traveling south, struck the guard rail and rolled the vehicle many times, his friends said. Thick alder bushes lined the edge of the bluff, and several bushes had been bent and broken. There did not appear to be skid marks at the crash site.

“He’s a lucky man,” said friend Tiffany Couch.

Couch and friends Tim Taylor and Travis Catron had been passing by Baycrest Hill when they saw fire trucks and rescue teams at the north entrance to the popular viewpoint. They stopped to tell responders of their friend’s crash. They said Watson did not wear a seat belt and rode out the crash. The friends said they later saw Watson and he did not appear to have any injuries.

A rope crew deployed down the slope next to the outlook Monday afternoon found the pickup truck, with its cab severed from the chassis, but no person. They continued searching for a possible victim until about mid afternoon when Watson’s friends came to the scene and reported that he was OK. Responders stood down at about 3 p.m.

Homer Police Chief Mark Robl later on Monday afternoon said that police had contacted Watson and confirmed he was OK. The case remains under investigation, and Watson could face a charge of leaving the scene of an accident.

Reach Michael Armstrong at michael.armstrong@homernews.com. Reach Megan Pacer at megan.pacer@homernews.com.

Comments

A Facebook login using a real name is required for commenting. Respectful and constructive comments are welcomed. Abusers will be blocked and reported to Facebook.