ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) — August 1 Update: In a report issued by Alaska State Troopers, the man who allegedly committed the carjacking has been identified as Lance Colby Harrington, age 41 of Barrow. A comprehensive report on his crimes and capture are located here.
A manhunt on Turnagain Pass closed the Seward Highway Tuesday afternoon while Alaska State Troopers, Anchorage Police and U.S. Forest Service officers worked to apprehend a suspect in two separate accidents, one of which happened after he stole an occupied vehicle.
Paul Caron says he left Anchorage for Seward early this morning to be in traffic court with his 18-year-old daughter. He says he was pulled over near mile marker 72, taking a nap and enjoying the afternoon sunshine, when a wide-eyed and dangerous man collided with a vehicle just outside his window.
"At that point, I saw a truck collide — it looked intentional to me — into another vehicle also at that rest area,” Caron said. “First, I started thinking, ‘Do I get out and see if they're OK?’ And this man jumped from the truck, and he kind of did a head bob. He was looking around, and he made eye contact with me, and his eyes were huge, and I decided this is a bad situation."
Caron says the man approached his vehicle, and he realized he had no reason to stick around. So he started his truck to pull out onto the highway.
"I looked in my rearview to make sure nobody's barreling down on me, and this guy's in the bed of my truck,” Caron said. “So now I'm thinking ‘this guy is totally whacked, of course.’ He grabs a piece of metal that's in my cab, smashes out the rear window of the truck, and says pull this (expletive) over, or I'm going to hit you upside the head with this."
Caron says he had no desire to die, so he pulled over and gave the wheel over to the man. He says the carjacker made a U-turn and peeled onto the highway heading south.
That's when he called 9-1-1.
"(He) made it to the site here, he crashed the vehicle that he stole,” AST Lieutenant Dane Gilmore said near the Bertha Creek campground. “He was taken into custody by a Forest Service law enforcement officer that was in the area, and passing motorists that rendered assistance."
Troopers say they received multiple calls of a reckless driver traveling south on the Seward Highway. They say they didn't respond until after the initial collision occurred.
Gilmore says witness statements led them to believe another armed suspect may have fled into the woods, so they called in helicopters and K-9 units. Further investigation revealed the carjacker, apprehended near Bertha Creek Campground shortly after 2:00 p.m., was alone.
Caron says he’s out a brand new truck.
"I assume that we all have insurance for a reason. That has got to be the reason,” Caron said. “That thing got its first oil change at 7,000 miles two days ago."