Police use stun gun for first time

Posted: Sunday, August 19, 2001

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Police used one of their Taser guns this week to subdue a suspected drunken driver after a low-speed chase.

The Fairbanks Police Department got four Tasers in March, but hadn't used them previously.

The Taser shoots two barbed hooks at the end of an insulated wire.

A current travels down the wire and interferes with the brain's signals to the muscles.

Officer Matt Soden said he spotted James J. Skogstad, 25, driving erratically and 10 mph under the speed limit on the Steese Highway just before midnight Wednesday.

When Soden flipped on his police lights, Skogstad didn't pull over, instead driving seven miles, with police tailing him, to his mother's house.

When he got out of the car there, officers told him several times to get on the ground. Instead, Skogstad took a few steps toward his mother's house, then turned to face the officers.

That's when Officer Jeromey Lindhag shot him with the Taser gun, which emits a 27-watt, 50,000-volt shock.

Soden said Skogstad crumpled to the ground. When officers rolled him over, one of the gun's barbs was stuck to his pant leg and the other was lying near his chest.

Skogstad was charged with driving while intoxicated, driving with a suspended driver's license and eluding police. He registered a .27 breath-alcohol level, almost three times the legal limit, police said.

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