Fairbanks man arrested for carrying a pipe bomb

Posted: Monday, December 10, 2001

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- A Fairbanks man was charged with misconduct after a pipe bomb was found in his coat pocket following a high-speed pursuit, Alaska State Troopers said.

Trooper Jeff Jones spotted a truck early Sunday with a license plate that wasn't illuminated. However, when Jones tried to stop the truck, the vehicle sped up and turned north onto the Richardson Highway, according to a trooper affidavit.

The driver of the truck, Sherman K. Howard, 21, of Fairbanks, continued north on the Richardson Highway and reached speeds in excess of 100 mph. Along the way, another trooper joined in the chase.

The truck coasted to a stop just south of the Mitchell Expressway turnoff after the trooper noticed dark smoke coming from the rear of the truck.

Two Fairbanks officers arrived to help troopers.

When Fairbanks Officer B.C. Rigdon was frisking Howard, Rigdon felt a lump in the left coat pocket, according to the affidavit.

Rigdon removed a purple Crown Royal bag from the pocket and asked Howard what was in the bag, said Fairbanks Officer Gary Yamamoto.

Howard first replied, ''I shouldn't have that,'' then told officers it was a pipe bomb, Yamamoto said.

The bomb was approximately seven inches long with a fuse coming out of the end of it. Howard said the bomb was made out of detonation cord.

Troopers called an Eielson Air Force Base explosive ordinance disposal team to take care of the bomb. The team X-rayed the bomb and determined it was too dangerous to move.

Traffic on the highway was blocked for about 10 minutes while the explosive team detonated the bomb. Yamamoto said the detonation shook the ground.

Howard was charged with third-degree misconduct involving a weapon for having the pipe bomb and failure to stop at the direction of a peace officer. He also was charged with misdemeanor reckless driving and for having a pipe with marijuana residue in it. He was also cited for the tail light violation.

He is being held at Fairbanks Correctional Center on $60,000 bail.

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