JUNEAU, Alaska  - Juneau police say they are treating a fatal car crash as a homicide investigation.

Investigators are gathering evidence before deciding if they will go forward with charges against one of the drivers involved in a crash March 26 that took the life of Jessica Louise Billy, 18, a senior at Juneau-Douglas High School, the Juneau Empire reported (http://bit.ly/1lnysP0).

Billy was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.

"You investigate it as though it's a homicide until you prove otherwise," said Lt. David Campbell, spokesman for the Juneau Police Department. Campbell said the department was working with the Juneau District Attorney's Office.

Another passenger was in critical condition after the crash and flown to a Seattle hospital.

The 18-year-old driver of a small sport-utility vehicle in which Billy was a passenger was released from the hospital the day of the accident.

The SUV was southbound on Yandukin Road when the driver did not yield when making a left turn in front of the semitrailer, according to police. The truck T-boned the SUV.

Police said they have cleared the truck driver of any wrongdoing.

The police obtained four search warrants in the case, including one to do a blood draw on SUV driver to test for the presence of drugs or alcohol, Campbell said. That is common in fatal car-crash investigations, he said.

Toxicology reports will take from four to six weeks, Campbell said.

The other warrants were to search the SUV, the driver and the driver's medical records. A total of 21 items have been seized pursuant to the search warrants, Campbell said.


Information from: Juneau (Alaska) Empire, http://www.juneauempire.com