After allegedly fleeing Alaska State Troopers and members of the Soldotna Police Department for several hours early Wednesday morning, an Anchorage man was finally caught when he used a credit card that did not belong to him.
According to an Alaska State Trooper dispatch, Bryson McEneaney, 28, on Wednesday at about 12:35 a.m., was reported to troopers for erratic driving on the Sterling Highway. He was in a 2000 white Pontiac Grand AM.
Just after 1 a.m. several trooper vehicles and a Soldotna police car chased him through Soldotna on the Sterling Highway before he turned down Funny River Road and crashed into a tree.
He then escaped with a passenger, according to a trooper dispatch.
At about 7:45 a.m., after hours of chasing him, Soldotna Police Chief Peter Mlynarik said the Soldotna Police Department responded to a call about a man using a credit card that did not belong to him.
“This occurred at the Fred Meyer in Soldotna,” Mlynarik said. “I ended up talking to the guy and at that time, I didn’t know he was the same person.”
Mlynarik said he later confirmed that the man using the credit card was McEneaney, after which he and another officer arrested him.
McEneaney was too intoxicated to be arraigned on schedule at the Kenai Courthouse on Thursday morning. His arraignment has been rescheduled for 10 a.m. on Friday.
McEneaney was arrested for an outstanding warrant, eluding in the first degree for failing to stop at the direction of a peace officer, assault in the third degree for placing a peace officer in fear of imminent serious physical injury, reckless driving, reckless endangerment of another person, providing false information to a peace officer, vehicle theft in the first degree, burglary in the first degree for entering a residence, theft in the fourth degree of items valued at $250 or less and driving without a valid drivers license.
If convicted, he faces up to 27 years in jail and up to $272,000 in fines.
According to the dispatch, McEneaney drove through a spike strip and foiled other attempts to stop him. Soldotna police and Alaska State Troopers spent at least an hour searching for him in the tall grass and trees near the scene of the crash.
The dispatch and an affidavit signed by an Alaska State Trooper determined that McEneaney stole a Ford Escape with a Colorado license plate before being located later that morning at Fred Meyer. He also stole a credit card and shoes from the same residence, which was about a tenth of a mile from where he crashed the Pontiac.
“McEneaney went into the Fred Meyer bathroom,” Sgt. Eugene Fowler wrote in the affidavit. “Chief Mlynarik and I contacted McEneaney in the bathroom and arrested him. I asked McEneaney his name and he stated his name was Joe.”
Mlynarik said the Soldotna Police Department is taking the lead on the aspect of this case relating to the use of stolen credit cards, while AST will investigate the pursuit.
Alaska State Troopers Public Information Officer Megan Peters said the departments will work jointly on the case. She said anyone who was affected by McEneaney’s driving during the chase is encouraged to contact the Soldotna trooper post at 907-262-4453.
If it is determined that McEneaney affected other drivers while being chased, Peters said additional charges could potentially be added to his case.
“It sounds like...there could have been people all along the highway that could have been affected,” Peters said. “When there’s an incident that happened, it’s not just one incident, one charge.”
Peters said troopers are still investigating the woman who accompanied McEneaney, whose identity will remain confidential unless charges are filed against her.
Reach Megan Pacer at firstname.lastname@example.org.