It was a busy Memorial Day weekend for troopers. At least two deaths by drowning occurred statewide over the holiday weekend.
An 18-month-old boy drowned in Big Lake on Sunday afternoon. Liam Lloyd fell off a dock at his family home. He was not wearing a life vest. His parents found him in the water and started CPR. Troopers and Coast Guard were nearby performing boat safety checks and assisted with CPR until more help arrived. Lloyd was flown to Providence where he was pronounced deceased.
Far north of Talkeetna, 30 year old Ryan Stratton of Fairbanks died on Saturday when the canoe he was in capsized on Olnes Pond on the Elliot Highway. State Troopers, Steese Volunteer Fire Department and Fort Wainwright Emergency Services responded to the 911 call.Stratton was in the water 2 hours before his body was located. He and his friends were canoeing on the lake when the boat overturned. His friends were able to swim to shore. Investigation showed that Stratton was intoxicated at the time of the accident. None of the men were wearing personal flotation devices.
Another death occurred on Knik River Road on Saturday. A group of juveniles were camped and awoke to find their 17-year-old friend not breathing. They drove him to Mat Su Regional where he was pronounced dead. An investigation in the death is on-going.
An accident occurred at milepost 95 of the Parks Highway early on Saturday, just after midnight, according to Troopers. No one was injured. Troopers responded to the accident that involved a semi tractor and trailer, and car. 67 year old Billy Demersseman of Anchorage was driving a semi truck pulling dual trailers northbound. He was following a vehicle driven by 20 year old Mercedes Melandez. Melandez tried to pull over to let the semi pass, but Demersseman struck Melandez’s vehicle, causing her to go in the ditch. Both individuals were wearing seatbelts. Demersseman was cited for following too close to another vehicle.