Repeat offender charged: Police obtain arrest warrant for Jan. 8 DUI crash

Posted: Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Kenneth Whitehead, the man referenced in a February Peninsula Clarion report on repeat DUI offenders, has been charged in the Jan. 8 car accident that injured a Sterling man and killed his dog.

Whitehead, 39, allegedly caused the crash near mile 27.5 of the Kenai Spur Highway that left Christopher McMurray with knee and wrist injuries and killed his 16-week-old dog Zoey. Whitehead then fled the scene of the wreck on foot without calling police or checking on McMurray. He is charged with two felony counts of assault and leaving an accident without assisting the injured party and three misdemeanor counts of DUI, driving with license revoked, and no motor vehicle insurance.

Whitehead's license had been revoked for a previous DUI that occurred in January 2004.

A warrant has been issued for Whitehead's arrest, and he remains out of custody. The warrant request, submitted by Casey Hershberger, a Kenai police officer working with the Trooper's Bureau of Highway Patrol, stated, "I do not believe Whitehead will appear on a summons and I believe he will attempt to flee again."

Hershberger pointed to Whitehead's criminal history as support for this belief, citing that "The defendant has at least one other arrest for a hit and run DUI out of another state, and an arrest in Alaska for Failing to Appear. Whitehead also has a conviction in Alaska for False Information, and another arrest for False Information on a separate case. I have had Whitehead run from me on foot on another occasion when he was listed as a fugitive from justice out of Oklahoma."

After fleeing the scene, Whitehead was eventually located at a Nikiski residence on Marlene Street about three hours after the collision. He was "badly injured and was bleeding from his head and face" when Hershberger contacted him and was transported to Central Peninsula Hospital where he remained for several days due to the severity of his injuries.

Whitehead was under the influence of alcohol, cannabis, benzodiazeprines, and opiates when he arrived at the hospital, according to CPH medical records. He admitted to Hershberger that he had been drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana prior to the crash, but denied ingesting anything in the time elapsed between the accident and his apprehension.

"I was relieved," McMurray said of learning that Whitehead had finally been charged. "I'm glad that they are finally moving forward."

Karen Garcia can be reached at karen.garcia@peninsulaclarion.com.



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