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Whittier Residents Mourn Loss of Potter Marsh Crash Victim

Published On: Mar 19 2014 10:12:29 AM AKDT   Updated On: Mar 20 2014 05:21:57 PM AKDT

Anchorage police say the woman killed in a car crash on the Seward Highway Tuesday night was a volunteer firefighter in Whittier.

An APD statement has identified 29-year-old Salafai Carol Iosefa, known to her friends and family as Carol, as the woman who died in the Tuesday crash. Iosefa worked as a firefighter for the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel Fire Department, and volunteered with the Whittier Fire Department as a firefighter.

In a Thursday email to Channel 2 APD spokesperson Jennifer Castro says the incident is still being examined, with police checking the vehicles involved for any mechanical failures and conducting toxicology tests on the drivers as part of standard investigation procedures.

“The traffic unit is still investigating at this time and trying to put together the sequence of events,” Castro said. “Hopefully we will have some final conclusions within a few weeks.”

In Whittier, Iosefa's friends remember her as someone who kept to herself but was approachable.

"She was quiet, you know," said resident June Miller. "She wasn't like a recluse or anything -- she just liked her privacy and being real quiet, but she was very warm."

Friends say her family moved to Whittier from Seattle several years ago, and Iosefa made efforts to ingrain herself into the town by working for the tunnel office as a volunteer firefighter, while attending church when she could.

"She always was happy when I had time to sit and talk to her," Miller said. "So if I wake up I'll be at church, and she would come in and I'd say, 'There's my girl!'"

A preliminary investigation of the crash found that a tanker semi truck traveling north on the Seward Highway collided with Iosefa’s southbound Honda Civic. Iosefa was declared dead at the scene of the crash. The driver of the tanker suffered minor, non-life threatening injuries, police said.

Police say Iosefa's family has been notified of her death.

APD closed the highway near Potter Marsh for several hours to investigate the crash. It was re-opened at 2:52 a.m. Wednesday.

Police say the cause of the collision is still under investigation.

Channel 2's Samantha Angaiak and Maria Downey contributed information to this story.