Electrical wiring was damaged by a vehicle at Evergreen Cemetery Monday evening. The vehicle went into the cemetery after hitting the pole.

Electrical wiring was damaged by a vehicle at Evergreen Cemetery Monday evening. The vehicle went into the cemetery after hitting the pole.

A ‘grave’ detour: Car drives through Evergreen Cemetery

At about 8 p.m. Monday evening, three people watched a vehicle driving on Seater Street crash into a light pole.

As they watched, two people jumped out of the car, pushed it away from the pole, grabbed the front bumper that had fallen off, and then put the bumper back in the car before driving off.

None of this would be noteworthy if the driver didn’t chose the particular get-away route he or she did, which was straight through Evergreen Cemetery.

“Yeah, somebody did drive through the cemetery,” said Kirk Duncan, the director of the city’s Parks and Recreation department, which operates the cemetery. “They came up over the curb, drove from the top of the cemetery and down to the bottom.”

Two tire track marks were still visible on the graveyard grounds Wednesday morning. The tracks show the car drove over graves, caused a divot or two in the grass and maybe hit some flowers. Fortunately, Duncan said, no graves or headstones were damaged.

Juneau Police Department spokeswoman Erann Kalwara said the vehicle was gone by the time responding officers arrived on scene. The officer interviewed the three witnesses, who said they believed the car was a 2002 or 2003 silver Subaru Impreza.

She said she does not know if the crash re-situated the car so that the route through the cemetery was the only way out.

“It’s not yet clear why the vehicle was driving in the cemetery,” she said by email.

She added that the police investigation into the crash is continuing, especially given that “the behavior is likely upsetting to the loved ones of those buried in the area.”

The cemetery is over 120 years old. It was established in 1887 and interred many of Juneau’s famous historic figures, including Joe Juneau and Richard Harris, the co-founders of Juneau and the funeral pyre of Chief Kowee, the Tlingit chief who guided the prospectors to gold.

Evergreen is surrounded by a winding road and is not protected by a barrier.

“We could put a guardrail all the way around it, or a fence all the way around it, but we’ve historically decided not to do that,” Duncan said.

• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at emily.miller@juneauempire.com.

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