Philip Greenlee, 12-17-04

Man killed in collision along trail in Houston
SNOWMACHINES: Other driver was hurt; accident in Noorvik injures two.

Anchorage Daily News

(Published: December 21, 2004)

WASILLA -- A Chugiak man died in a weekend snowmachining accident in Houston while another man was seriously injured after he was hit by a drunken teen on a snowmachine in Noorvik.

The first accident occurred about 5:30 p.m. Friday in Houston. Philip Greenlee, 45, collided head-on with 42-year-old James Palmer along Kenlar Road.

The collision occurred on a well-traveled trail along the north-south road that connects Hawk Lane, near the Parks Highway, with Big Lake Road.

The two men were headed in opposite directions -- Greenlee aboard a red Polaris and Palmer riding a green Arctic Cat -- and hit each other as they came around a corner, according to a medic who responded.

Greenlee died of massive trauma, according to Lori Miner, Big Lake and Meadow Lakes ambulance chief. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Palmer was taken by helicopter to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, where he was in serious condition Monday, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Palmer suffered serious facial lacerations, said John Rhyshek, Houston's lone police officer. Rhyshek said he is waiting to interview him.

Several people called 911, including a woman who was following one of the men, Rhyshek said.

Greenlee lived in Chugiak, according to a database of state records.

He had a cabin in the Houston area, said Bill O'Hara, a Big Lake snowmachine dealer.

No charges have been filed, Rhyshek said.

The second incident occurred around 1:45 p.m. Saturday in Noorvik, a Kobuk River community of about 650 people about 45 miles east of Kotzebue.

Alaska State Troopers said a 17-year-old boy was driving a Polaris 600 when he struck 26-year-old Alfred Coffin. The boy was intoxicated, troopers said.

Both men were from Noorvik and were taken to a local clinic for treatment. Coffin was later flown to Anchorage for a severe leg injury. Troopers continue to investigate.

Greenlee's death marks the second snowmachine fatality this winter, Trooper spokesman Greg Wilkinson said. A Grayling man died in mid-November when his snowmachine broke through ice en route to Shageluk, Wilkinson said.

Reporter Tataboline Brant contributed to this story. Reporter Zaz Hollander can be reached at or in Wasilla at 352-6711.