Holden Hollenberg, 07-07-06

Teen killed when his ATV strikes gate made of pipes

ALASKA DIGEST, Published: July 9, 2006

A 16-year-old was killed when the all-terrain vehicle he was driving crashed into a large gate blocking a road in Kenai.

Holden Hollenberg of Soldotna and another youth were driving on a gravel utility access road when the accident happened sometime before 12:30 a.m. Friday.

Hollenberg and his companion had already driven around one gate blocking access on the gravel road and were approaching a second when Hollenberg accelerated, leaving his companion behind and crashing into the second gate. The gate was a swinging gate made of metal pipes.

Kenai police and the Kenai Fire Department responded to the accident after a call from an acquaintance of Hollenberg reporting the accident.

Hollenberg was found within a few feet of the gate. A Kenai Fire Department ambulance took him to the Central Peninsula General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

"It is likely he had some pretty severe internal injuries," said Lt. Kim Wannamaker.

Wannamaker said he did not know how much time passed between the accident and the time it was reported. Preliminary reports suggest speed may have been a contributing factor in the accident.

"Preliminary investigations show he was driving very fast," Wannamaker said.

Kenai police are investigating the accident.

-- The Associated Press

Soldotna woman files lawsuit

Published: January 21, 2007

KENAI -- Soldotna mother has filed a lawsuit against a Kenai woman over the death last year of the plaintiff's teenage son.

Nicole Hollenberg alleges 29-year-old Melody Luze gave alcohol to 16-year-old Holden Hollenberg before his fatal four-wheeler accident.

Holden Hollenberg died July 7 after his vehicle crashed into a gate on a gravel utility access road in Kenai. Holden and a companion already had driven around one gate blocking access on the gravel road and were approaching a second when Holden accelerated and crashed into the second gate.

In her civil complaint, Nicole Hollenberg alleges Luze regularly held parties where she encouraged Holden and other minors to drink alcohol, including the night Holden died.

Court documents do not say how much alcohol, if any, was found in Holden's blood the night he died. Kenai police Lt. Kim Wannamaker said he could not answer questions about the case, including whether investigators found evidence that Holden had been drinking alcohol the night of his death.

Luze denied the allegations.

Nicole Hollenberg is seeking more than $50,000 for the loss of her son and $50,000 in punitive damages.

She also is seeking $50,000 from the city of Kenai. Her complaint states the city should have known the gated road was regularly used by ATV and four-wheeler riders and that without reflectors, signs or other markings to warn riders, the closed gate Holden crashed into was hazardous.

The attorney representing the city of Kenai, Susan Orlansky, declined to comment on the case.

-- The Associated Press