Alaska State Troopers say a 30-year-old Sterling man at the wheel of a stolen pickup truck was arrested early Wednesday, after he allegedly drove it past a trooper investigating the vehicle’s theft.
According to a Wednesday AST dispatch, troopers received a report at about 2:15 a.m. about the 2007 Toyota’s theft, which had taken place in the last three hours from a detached garage in Sterling.
“While conducting the investigation, the stolen truck was observed to drive by,” troopers wrote. “The suspect sped away and drove into the ditch near the intersection of Carter Way and Skilak Lane in Sterling.”
In an email to Channel 2, AST spokesperson Beth Ipsen says the vehicle -- allegedly driven by 30-year-old Jeremy Whitlow -- passed the trooper about half a mile away from the home where it had been taken, while he was trying to track the truck’s course.
“The trooper was actually outside his vehicle and looking at the tire tracks when the truck drove by,” Ipsen wrote. “Likewise, Whitlow spotted the trooper and immediately accelerated. The trooper had to run back to his vehicle about 50 yards away before he could follow the truck.”
Whitlow had ran away from the ditched vehicle by the time the trooper caught up with it, shortly before 3:30 a.m. Soldotna Police Department officers and an AST K-9 unit were called in to help search a subdivision for Whitlow, with two troopers and a dog eventually finding Whitlow about a mile and a half from the pickup at about 4:40 a.m.
"(The troopers) spotted him walking on the road," Ipsen wrote. "They yelled at him and he gave himself up."
Troopers also learned that Whitlow had been driving the vehicle while drunk.
“The truck was not damaged and was easily pulled out of a snow bank and returned to the happy owner,” Ipsen wrote. “There was no relationship between the victim and suspect.”
Whitlow was arrested on charges of second-degree burglary, first-degree vehicle theft and DUI, as well as probation and parole violations. He was subsequently remanded to the Wildwood Pretrial Facility.