Alaska State Troopers arrested a 48-year-old Cooper Landing man Friday after, they say, he drove his pickup past barricades set up to stop traffic due to the Swan Lake fire near Sterling and led officers on a 15-mile chase.
According to troopers, Josh Lingle drove past barricades at Skilak Lake Loop Road and the Sterling Highway. Troopers said a U.S. Fish and Wildlife officer tried to stop Lingle, who instead “attempted to ram his patrol car" before heading toward Soldotna.
Troopers used spike strips to slow the pickup, which then pulled into a parking lot before it “rammed 3 patrol vehicles in an attempt to flee.”
Officers finally stopped the pickup using a “Bearcat" armored vehicle, and took Lingle into custody after “a short negotiation.”
He was charged with three counts of third-degree assault, three counts of third-degree criminal mischief, failure to stop at the direction of a peace officer and reckless driving. Lingle was initially taken to Wildwood Pretrial Facility in Kenai, but a state database showed he was being held Saturday at the Anchorage Correctional Complex.
The 162,000-acre Swan Lake fire has been burning since June in the Sterling and Cooper Landing area, with frequent road closures and traffic delays on the highway due to heavy smoke and fire near the roadway over the past two weeks.