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Pursuit ends at Whittier tunnel

Posted: June 23, 2014 - 9:27pm

A Soldotna man is in jail after he led Alaska State Troopers on a chase on the Seward Highway before coming to an end at the Whittier Tunnel Sunday.

Tylor Arndt, 22, was arrested on charges of failing to stop at the direction of a peace officer in the first-degree, making a false report, reckless driving, driving while license revoked, failure to report an accident, driving in violation of a limited license, and two counts of Assault in the third-degree. He was taken to Anchorage Jail and is being held on $21,000 bond.

The chase began after troopers stopped Arndt in a blue Ford Focus near Mile 73 of the Seward Highway for an equipment violation at about 2:20 p.m. The driver provided a false name then fled northbound at a high rate of speed in excess of 110 mph, according to a troopers dispatch.

Arndt turned onto the Portage Highway and continued to the Whittier Tunnel. Troopers contacted the Alaska Department of Transportation to have them close the northbound gate to the tunnel, but Arndt made it through before it closed, trooper spokesperson Tim Despain said. In the process, troopers had to wait for the gate to open again before they continued the pursuit, he said.

While inside the mile-long one lane tunnel, Arndt used the emergency pullout lanes to pass vehicles, before he sideswiped a black Cadillac SUV, Despain said. No significant damage or injuries resulted from the incident, he said.

“There were approximately 30 to 40 people in the tunnel that evacuated into a safe house built into the tunnel,” Despain said. “(Arndt) ... then took off on foot.”

Arndt ran toward the end of the tunnel and hid behind a portable restroom in a pullout area before troopers arrested him, he said. According to Alaska court records, Arndt had an outstanding felony arrests warrant for a probation violation and a previous eluding charge from May 28. He was also driving with a revoked license.

Arndt was arraigned in Anchorage District Court on Monday.

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