An Anchorage man was arrested by Alaska State Troopers Sunday after his SUV allegedly drove into oncoming traffic and collided with two other vehicles in Fairbanks, leaving one woman with minor injuries.
According to a Monday AST dispatch, the incident began with a Report Every Dangerous Driver Immediately call shortly before 3:30 p.m. Sunday, alerting troopers to a driver near Chena Pump Road.
In an email to Channel 2, AST spokesperson Beth Ipsen says the vehicle in the REDDI call -- a black 2003 Hyundai SUV, driven by 25-year-old Henry Mason Jr. -- “ran a red light, then backed up out of the intersection, then got stuck near Roland and Chena Pump (roads).”
Although a trooper recognized Mason’s vehicle and turned around to follow it, troopers lost sight of it when he allegedly turned and began driving into oncoming traffic.
“The vehicle then went east bound on Airport Way and ran a red light at Sportsman and Airport, and another one at Airport (Way) and University (Avenue),” Ipsen wrote. “The (SUV) then turned north onto University and was driving the wrong way on University.”
According to Ipsen, an initial AST dispatch’s implication that the event was a continuous chase was inaccurate.
“Troopers were not in direct pursuit of the vehicle, but were looking for the vehicle when the two crashes happened,” Ipsen wrote. “In fact, troopers were looking in another area (College Road area) for the SUV, after losing sight of it.”
While troopers were sorting out the situation, Ipsen says Mason struck two vehicles, beginning with a 1992 Ford truck at Geist Road and University. Mason then headed east on Geist, now the Johansen Expressway, before turning south on Peger Road and striking a 2006 Toyota Matrix.
The Ford’s male driver was unharmed, but the woman driving the Matrix was taken to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.
“She suffered minor injuries, apparently whiplash injuries, and was checked out at FMH,” Ipsen said.
Ipsen says troopers got a break in the case when a Fairbanks Police Department patrol unit arrived at the Peger Road collision.
“FPD got on scene at the second crash and told troopers this might be the vehicle we were looking for,” Ipsen wrote. “A witness saw this crash, then saw the male driver and female passenger flee the vehicle and run into the (Spenard Builders Supply) lumber yard.”
While troopers quickly detained Mason’s passenger, who ultimately wasn’t charged with a crime, Mason allegedly went to ground in the cab of a flatbed truck. A woman relayed a tip on his location to troopers, who took him into custody at about 5:25 p.m.
Both Mason and his passenger were taken to Fairbanks Memorial for evaluation, where the passenger was released to her parents.
Mason had been wanted on a warrant for second-degree, third-degree and fourth-degree counts of misconduct involving weapons as well as fourth-degree assault. In addition, he was charged with two new counts each of fourth-degree assault and failure to report a collision, as well as one count each of first-degree failure to stop at the direction of a peace officer and leaving the scene of an injury accident.
Mason was arrested after his release from the hospital, and was listed in custody Monday at the Fairbanks Correctional Center.