A shootout between a driver and Alaska State Troopers Sunday evening on the Sterling Highway left the woman with a gunshot wound to her torso and led to the closure of the highway for hours, troopers said.
Troopers are trying to determine the women's identity and what led up to the incident, said troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters. The driver was taken to the hospital in Homer for treatment, troopers said.
The situation began to unfold at 5:18 p.m. when troopers heard about someone in a yellow SUV driving erratically on the Kenai Peninsula, according to Peters. Troopers say they received multiple REDDI, or Report Every Dangerous Driver Immediately, reports.
Around 6:15 p.m., an Alaska wildlife trooper spotted the vehicle traveling north on the Sterling Highway near Happy Valley and tried to pull it over. But the driver kept going, troopers said.
"When the vehicle temporarily stopped, the female driver began shooting," Peters wrote in an email sent out just before 10 p.m.
The wildlife trooper fired back, Peters said.
The SUV kept going another half mile, stopping at Mile 147 of the Sterling Highway. Troopers from Soldotna and Anchor Point, Homer police officers and members of the Southcentral tactical team all descended on the scene.
After about 30 minutes, the driver put her hands outside the vehicle and troopers were able to get to her, Peters said. They found her with an apparent gunshot wound to her torso, and she was taken to the hospital, Peters said.
The Alaska Bureau of Investigation is investigating the circumstances of the shooting. The wildlife trooper has been placed on administrative leave for three days, which is standard in law enforcement shootings. The trooper's name won't be released until that period ends.
The Sterling Highway is closed to traffic in both directions until approximately 1 a.m. Monday. Because of the ongoing scene investigation, very little traffic is being allowed through, troopers said.
This is at least the eighth shooting involving police agencies around the state this year.
Reach Lisa Demer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-4390.