Man in jail with frostbite after trooper chase through woods near Cantwell

Benjamin S. Brasch

A Wasilla man who allegedly stole a car and left it in a ditch led troopers on an hour-long chase Tuesday through woods around Cantwell in minus-20 cold. Troopers say that when they finally caught up to him and put him under arrest, he had frostbitten feet and was suffering from hypothermia.

The man, Samuel Wade, 20, of Wasilla, was charged with car theft and resisting arrest after evading troopers over about 2 miles, said Beth Ipsen, troopers spokeswoman.

Troopers received a call about 2 p.m. of a vehicle in a ditch at Mile 201 Parks Highway; it turned out to have been stolen from Anchorage that morning, she said.

By the time a trooper made it to the vehicle, she said, Wade had already been picked up by a good Samaritan in a passing car.

Another driver who stopped near the car gave the trooper a description of the vehicle that picked up Wade, she said. After the description was relayed by dispatchers, another trooper stopped the vehicle. Wade was inside, she said.

But after the driver pulled over, Wade bolted east toward the Denali Highway into a thick wooded area, she said.

A resident in the area called 911 saying there was a man matching Wade's description on his property, she said. When troopers and Argo, a K9 dog, found Wade, he ran away -- again, Ibsen said

After an hour tracking Wade in subzero temperatures, troopers found him wearing a Carhartt jacket at a vacant cabin in the woods off the Denali Highway, Ipsen said.

Cantwell Emergency Medical Services treated Wade's frostbite and hypothermia until he was transferred to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, she said.

When Wade was released from the hospital, he was taken to Glenwood Center and held without bail, where he remained Wednesday, according to state jail records.

Wade has been arrested on more than a dozen burglary and theft charges since July, one of which was attempting to escape from a correctional facility, according to state records.

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