Even SUVs aren’t always safe to drive, the residents of Juneau, Alaska, discovered when a 2008 Toyota Highlander slid across an intersection and struck two boys crossing the street. One of the boys had been hospitalized with serious injuries from the accident, and police are still investigating.
The initial theory behind most mid-sized and larger sports utility vehicles is that they are built for going off-road. They can theoretically cross a stream or jump a curb without any serious damage due to the raised body and larger tires. However, a 36-year-old motorist found out the hard way that there are still some obstacles such a vehicle can’t handle safely. Being the middle of Summer, it’s doubtful that ice on the road had much to do with it as the accident happened on July 6 around 12:40pm.
It’s also unknown if the driver of the 2008 Toyota Highlander had been under the influence of any controlled substances or alcohol. The driver was unharmed, probably due to driving an SUV, which is technically a tank for citizens.
The investigation is expected to uncover the reason why the driver had left the roadway on Mendenhall Loop, struck a culvert (a structure intended to allow water to pass under the road safely) and proceeded to slide across Tongass Boulevard on its side, says Juneau Police Department spokesman Lieutenant David Campbell.
There could have been unnecessary speed involved in the accident as the vehicle had come to rest on its side. The driver may have also been making a corner cutting turn to hit the culvert at that angle. He had been heading toward the Mendenhall Glacier Visitors Center on Glacier Spur Road when it happened.
Police had the intersection closed down for two hours while investigating the accident and collecting clues. Several witnesses had claimed to see the accident with the 2008 Toyota Highlander happen as the area is highly residential and close to Floyd Dryden Middle School, where the boys had probably been students.
Police: Two child pedestrians struck by SUV that crashed in Juneauhttps://t.co/mXXBjHG3Jy
— KTUU.com (@Ch2KTUU) July 7, 2016
The two boys were 11 and 12 years old. The 11-year-old had moved enough out of the way to only sustain minor injuries to his face. The other one suffered more serious injury and was taken to Bartlett Regional Hospital. He is in stable condition and recovering.
Juneau Empire – Boys hit by sliding SUV, 1 seriously injured https://t.co/Rfahz6htLa
— Alaska News (@alaskanews1) July 7, 2016
Authorities believed that the driver of the 2008 Toyota Highlander was not inebriated, and they did not charge him with a crime. That could change as the accident is investigated. This possibly points to a blown tire or an unknown factor which made him swerve and strike the culvert, losing control.
There is also the possibility that the driver of the SUV hadn’t been paying attention to the road, and the tire hit the culvert just right to send it on its side. Being a larger vehicle, the 2008 Toyota Highlander weighs more than regular ones and would take more time to stop when it’s in motion.
Authorities are also inspecting the 2008 Toyota Highlander for possible repair issues such as faulty suspension which may have contributed to the accident.
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