EXPECT DELAYS – Lines of traffic move slowly down Sawmill Creek Road today as a repaving project progresses near the Indian River bridge. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

4 Killed in Car Crash Near Petersburg

From the Petersburg Pilot

Four people were killed in a single-vehicle car crash late Monday night or early Tuesday morning on Mitkof Highway south of Petersburg, Alaska State Troopers report.

The four occupants of the vehicle – three men and a woman – were dead when Troopers came upon the crash site near Mile 27 of the forest highway after 10 a.m. Tuesday as they responded to a welfare check.

 Authorities identified the occupants of the vehicle as Siguard Decker, 21 and his sister Helen Decker, 19, of Wrangell; Ian Martin, 29, of Petersburg; and Dennis Lord, 37, of New York.

A black SUV lies on its side where it came to a halt after a crash in Petersburg. All four passengers inside in the vehicle were killed. (Photo courtesy of Dave Berg)

In a press release the Troopers said an initial investigation shows the SUV left the roadway at a high rate of speed and struck several trees, destroying the vehicle. The occupants of the vehicle were wearing seat belts, and airbags were deployed.

The news release said alcohol appeared to be a factor in the crash, and the investigation is ongoing. Troopers from Juneau have been deployed to assist with the investigation.

The bodies were transferred to Petersburg Medical Center, Petersburg Assistant Fire Chief Dave Berg said.

The Petersburg Pilot said Bob Thorstenson Jr., who manages the seiners F/V Magnus Martens of Juneau and F/V Vigilant of Petersburg that the crew had been fishing on, called the Decker siblings close family friends who had just wrapped up purse seining on Sunday “in some of the roughest weather he’d ever seen.”

They had stopped in Petersburg to meet a marine mechanic after one of the vessels had engine trouble, the Pilot said in its story.

You have no rights to post comments

August 5, 2020

A Note To Our Readers

Reopening: Phase One:


On March 30 the Daily Sitka Sentinel began taking precautions against the coronavirus, which was starting to show up in Alaska.

We closed our building to the public and four key employees started working remotely. Home delivery was suspended to protect our carriers from exposure to the virus.

Four months later, the virus is still with us and the precautions remain in effect.

In appreciation for the willingness of our subscribers to pick up their daily paper at drop-off sites, the Sentinel was free to all readers, and subscriptions were extended without charge.

As of August 1 the Sentinel is once again charging for subscriptions, but the present method of having subscribers pick up their papers at designated sites will continue.

The expiration date of all subscriptions has been extended without charge for an additional four months.

We thank our readers for their support in these uncertain times, and especially those who paid for the paper despite the free offer.

We look forward to the time when we can safely resume home delivery.

To check on the expiration of your subscription or to make a payment please call 747-3219. The subscription email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . We also will be mailing out reminder cards.

The single copy price is again 75 cents. The news racks do not require coins to open, but we ask that the 75 cents for a non-subscription single copy sale be paid with coins in the slot.

– The Sitka Sentinel Staff


Login Form



Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 8-7-20)

By Sentinel Staff

The state Department of Health and Social Services has posted the following update on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska as of 11:20 a.m. Friday.

New cases as of Thursday: 53

Total statewide – 3,536

Total (cumulative) deaths – 25

Active cases in Sitka – 20 (14 resident; 6 non-resident) *

Recovered cases in Sitka – 15 (11 resident; 4 non-resident) *

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 141.

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.

* These numbers reflect State of Alaska data. Local cases may not immediately appear on DHSS site, or are reported on patient’s town of residence rather than Sitka’s statistics. 




August 2000

High prices for chum salmon, low pink returns, and record numbers of fish in Deep Inlet have turned the Sitka fishing grounds into Route 66 this summer. “Overall it’s been a fantastic season so far,” said Steve Reifenstuhl, operations manager for the Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association.

August 1970

His Beatitude, Metropolitan Ireney, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, will head a gathering of Orthodox prelates from North American and abroad in ceremonies canonizing the first American Orthodox saints, Father Herman of Alaska. A group of Sitkans will fly to Kodiak for the event.