Steese Highway Winter Deaths: Troopers Identify Couple From Circle Who Froze To Death In Car

UPDATE: FRIDAY JAN 8TH, 2024  JOHN & TONYA CARROLL OF CIRCLE IDENTIFIED  TROOPER UPDATE 1/8/24:  The deceased adults have been positivel...



TROOPER UPDATE 1/8/24: The deceased adults have been positively identified as: 59-year-old Circle resident John Carroll and 55-year-old Circle resident Tonya Carroll. Next of kin have been notified and their bodies have been sent to the State Medical Examiner’s office for autopsy. There is no evidence of foul play at this time.

UPDATE: FRIDAY JAN 5TH, 2024, 3:30 PM 

Two Dead, Two More Cars Trapped In High Country Between Fairbanks & Yukon River 

Bodies Have Been Recovered 

Whiteout & Blizzard Conditions, Winds Up to 60mph, 10ft Drifts in Road 

Location: Eagle Summit, Steese Hwy
Type: Death Investigation

Dispatch Text:
On January 3, 2024, at 5:54 pm, the Alaska State Troopers received a report that two adults had not arrived in Circle after departing Fairbanks earlier in the day. The two had reportedly left in a vehicle on January 2, 2024. 

The vehicle had been spotted stuck in snow at Eagle Summit on the Steese Highway earlier in the day, however, the person that spotted the vehicle was unable to stop to check on the vehicle due to extreme weather conditions in the area. With the assistance of a DOT&PF crew, an Alaska State Trooper responded to Eagle Summit and located the vehicle on the evening of January 3rd. There were whiteout and blizzard conditions in the pass when the trooper and DOT&PF crew located the vehicle - winds were gusting to 60 miles per hour, and there were 10' drifts on the roadway. 

The Trooper broke the window on the vehicle and located the missing adults, both deceased, inside the vehicle. The extreme weather conditions prevented the Trooper from safely recovering the bodies, so the vehicle was secured until they could safely be recovered. 

Two other vehicles were assisted by DOT&PF crews that had run out of fuel or become stuck on the Steese Highway on January 3rd. On January 5, 2024, weather conditions improved, allowing a DOT&PF crew, Troopers, and a tow truck to recover the vehicle and the bodies safely. Both bodies and the vehicle were transported back to Fairbanks for positive identification and further investigation. They will both be sent to the State Medical Examiner’s Office for autopsy. No foul play is suspected at this time. The identities of the deceased will be released pending positive identification and next of kin notifications.


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