Suspect shot by state trooper remains in critical condition

Posted: Thursday, December 20, 2001

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- The man shot in a gunfight with an Alaska State Trooper remained in critical condition Wednesday, suffering from a wound to his lower abdomen and severe hypothermia.

Trooper spokesman Greg Wilkinson said Timothy ''Chad'' Lobdell stuck a sawed-off shotgun out of a car window and shot at Trooper Michael Wery early Monday morning. Wery returned fire and wounded Lobdell, who then fled into the wooded hills above Farmers Loop north of the city limits.

Lobdell, 24, was found suffering from the gunshot wound, hypothermia and frostbite just more than 90 minutes later. The temperature was 35 below zero.

''His hypothermia was so bad it just appeared like he was extremely intoxicated. Everything was slurred. You could see it in his eyes. Everything was moving really slow,'' said Trooper Joe Hazelaar.

Hazelaar was one of the six who carried Lobdell 400 feet through six inches of snow and woods.

''His feet hit the (ambulance) door. It sounded like two hard bricks hitting each other.''

Wery, 41, has been a trooper in Fairbanks since graduating from the trooper academy in January 2000. He was not injured but was placed on administrative leave for 72 hours under departmental policy.

Before becoming a trooper, Wery served as a security police officer in the U.S. Air Force.

Hazelaar said the sawed-off shotgun Lobdell used to shoot at Wery was found discarded in the snow nearby when investigators converged on the scene during the few daylight hours Monday.

There were two bullet holes in the back of the light green 1997 Dodge Neon Lobdell was driving, said trooper Sgt. Dave Drvenkar.

Hazelaar said one bullet went through the back seat and front seat, hitting Lobdell in the back abdominal area.

Trooper Scott Johnson said Wery was first at the scene after a 911 call at 4:23 a.m. from a woman reporting that a man driving a Dodge Neon was stuck in the driveway in front of her house. Wery had just taken a report of a stolen car matching the one Lobdell was in.

Wilkinson said when Wery arrived, Lobdell was still trying to get the car out of the steep driveway. Wery told Lobdell to get out of the car, but Lobdell aimed a shotgun through the window he had partially rolled down and shot at Wery, Wilkinson said. Wery shot back several times, troopers said.

The trooper Special Emergency Response Team was activated and with assistance from Fairbanks and University of Alaska Fairbanks officers, they set up a perimeter and began a search.

Johnson said officers tried yelling at Lobdell to persuade him to give himself up, but he refused to answer. Instead, he continued to yell, allowing troopers and officers to track his movements.

When officers found Lobdell at about 6:10 a.m., he was wearing only a thin black leather jacket, windbreaker pants and thin cotton socks, Hazelaar said. He was not wearing gloves and had lost his shoes at the beginning of his flight.

Lobdell is on probation but had stopped meeting with his probation officer. A no-bail warrant had been issued for his arrest.

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