Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 4:49 PM on Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Troopers still investigating 2010 fatal crash

By Michael Armstrong
Staff Writer

A 2010 Memorial Day weekend car crash that killed a 25-year-old Washington, D.C., woman near Anchor Point remains under investigation. Kathleen Benz died of her injuries May 29, 2010, at South Peninsula Hospital.

No charges have yet been filed in relation to the crash.

One driver involved, Alfred Jones, 48, of Kenai, was later indicted in U.S. Federal Court in another case for his involvement in an alleged money laundering and drug running conspiracy between Nevada and Alaska.

Benz suffered fatal injuries in a crash involving four vehicles near Mile 163.5 Sterling Highway on a straight section of road near a curve. Bureau of Highway Patrol Troopers alleged that Jones drove northbound in his GMC truck just after 8 p.m. May 29, 2010, when he crossed the centerline toward cars heading south.

Two cars avoided hitting Jones' truck, causing minor crashes. Daniel Fairchild, then 29, driving a Subaru Forester, was unable to avoid hitting the GMC truck. Benz was in the front passenger seat. Both cars hit on the passenger sides.

Both drivers, Benz and an occupant of another car were all taken to the hospital. As is mandatory in fatal vehicle crashes, blood draws of both drivers were taken for toxicology tests.

Results of those tests have not yet been revealed.

The Homer News filed a records request for the trooper investigation under Alaska's Open Records Act, but troopers said the investigation is not complete and denied the request.

"It is still an ongoing investigation. We are doing a thorough investigation and giving it the attention it deserves," said Alaska State Troopers spokesperson Megan Peters.

"While we are aware that it may appear to those outside our agency that nothing is happening, it is not the case. It would be a great disservice to the grieving family, the people of Alaska and to those involved in the incident if we didn't make sure everything was handled appropriately. Unfortunately, this can be a very long process," she said.

Benz's family declined to comment on the case at this time.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@ homernews.com.