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Troopers stop suspect after 60-mile high-speed pursuit

Spike strips end chase

Posted: Friday, February 23, 2007

An Anchorage man allegedly under the influence of drugs took Alaska State Troopers on a high-speed tour of the Kenai Peninsula on Wednesday, before finally being stopped with spike strips on the road.

“A complaint came in from a motorist that reported a vehicle — a purple Kia — driving erratically near Sterling Elementary,” said Sgt. Rex Leath with the trooper post in Seward.

Leath said troopers from Cooper Landing responded to the call, which came in about 3:30 p.m., but while traveling within the posted speed limits en route to the location of the call, one trooper was almost hit by the suspect traveling at high speeds in the wrong lane.

“The suspect refused to stop and caused the trooper to go into the ditch to avoid a head-on collision,” Leath said.

After getting back on the road and contacting troopers from Seward and Girdwood for their assistance, the pursuit resumed. Troopers followed the Kia for nearly an hour, covering approximately 60 miles.

“The vehicle was traveling 15 to 35 miles per hour over the posted speed limits, passed vehicles in no-passing zones and almost caused at least one head-on collision,” Leath said.

The suspect even drove up the long, curving off-ramp from the Seward Highway near Tern Lake,

“He went right up it against opposing traffic,” Leath said.

Knowing that if the suspect made it to Turnagain Arm during rush hour, the situation could become even more dangerous than it already was, Leath said troopers in Girdwood set out spike strips at Mile 78 near Portage.

“We weren’t trying to issue a citation, we were trying to save lives. The spike strips took out his front tires and he went from 75 miles per hour down to 10 almost instantly,” he said.

Alaska Bureau of Wildlife Enforcement officers also aided the situation by controlling traffic movement in the area to ensure public safety.

“Ending a pursuit with no injuries and no public damage is always what we aim for and that’s what we got,” Leath said.

Tim Getty, 45, of Anchorage, was the man behind the wheel of the vehicle. Getty was arrested for eluding, third- and fourth-degree assault, misconduct involving weapons, reckless driving, driving under the influence and sixth-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance.

During the arrest, Getty also allegedly assaulted one of the troopers who was removing him from the vehicle, according to Leath.

“He kicked the trooper,” he said.

Getty also attempted to stab another trooper with a pen he grabbed during the booking process, according to Leath.

“Fortunately, the trooper was on his guard and was able to quickly disarm and restrain him, controlling the situation,” he said.

Numerous suspicious items were found in the vehicle, which lead troopers to believe Getty is connected to other crimes, Leath said. An investigation is under way.

Joseph Robertia can be reached at joseph.robertia@peninsulaclarion.com.



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