Driver leads police on chase through Kenai

Posted: Friday, March 04, 2005

While most Kenai residents were still asleep Thursday morning, Kenai police were busy chasing a reckless driver through town after he narrowly missed colliding with a police car.

According to police, at about 4:30 a.m., a vehicle ran a red light at Forest Drive and the Kenai Spur Highway, and nearly plowed into a police cruiser that had just entered the intersection.

The officer turned on his emergency lights and pursued the driver as he headed into town.

Apparently ignoring the police, the driver turned onto Bridge Access Road, but then did a U-turn and headed back toward town.

Part of the way back, he turned onto Beaver Loop Road and attempted to pull into a driveway, but missed and put the vehicle in a ditch.

The driver fled on foot and police spent the next two hours searching for him in the woods.

Alaska State Troopers sent a canine unit to assist in the hunt, and eventually the suspect was located with the help of a thermal imaging device.

Samuel R. Willey, 37, address unknown, was arrested and charged with third-degree assault for allegedly placing a passenger in fear, felony eluding, reckless driving, driving under the influence, chemical test refusal, driving while license revoked, fifth-degree criminal mischief and resisting arrest.

Willey was taken to Wildwood Pretrial Facility at 7:25 a.m.

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