A man died early Saturday after his friend stranded him along the side of the Glenn Highway in freezing temperatures and later struck him with his car, police said.
According to charging documents, 25-year-old Brian McGee did not stop after hitting Chase Bowerson. On Saturday morning, his silver Ford Taurus had a “large body-sized dent across the middle of the hood” and a hole in the windshield, police said.
On Friday night, McGee picked Bowerson up from his Chugiak home and they went to an Eagle River bar, the charges said. When that bar closed, the men headed to another bar in Wasilla, where charges said Bowerson continued to drink. McGee initially told police he was not drinking that night, charges said, but later acknowledged having one drink when police confronted him about security footage from a bar.
During the drive home, McGee told investigators he’d stopped and pulled Bowerson from his car and left him on the side of the Glenn Highway near the Hiland exit after Bowerson became belligerent, according to the charges.
Police wrote that they received several reports around 3:50 a.m. about a man seen walking alongside the road wearing only jeans and a T-shirt, the charges said. The temperature at the time hovered around minus 8 degrees.
Police found footprints in the snow along the highway, but did not see Bowerson that night.
After leaving Bowerson, McGee drove about five more minutes to Bowerson’s home and left his belongings outside the door, including his jacket, charges said.
McGee headed to his own home in Anchorage.
While driving, McGee said he looked away and hit something, according to the charges. He repeatedly told police he hit a moose, but the charges said McGee also noted he hadn’t seen Bowerson “until it was too late.”
McGee did not stop but instead drove 14 more miles until he reached his home, police said.
Police were called to the Hiland exit area Saturday at 8:40 a.m. because a caller reported a man’s body was on the shoulder of the far left southbound lane against the median, the charges said.
Traffic fatality investigators found McGee’s bent front license plate near Bowerson’s body, the charges said, and several other car parts and tire marks littered the scene.
The evidence in the area showed that McGee’s vehicle was going about 30 mph in the far right lane when he abruptly turned into the far left lane, where he struck Bowerson, the charges said.
McGee was arrested Saturday and is facing a charge of aggravated failure to render aid. Police said the investigation is ongoing and there is potential that McGee will face additional charges.
Assistant District Attorney Whitney Marie Bostick called McGee’s actions “egregious” during an arraignment hearing Sunday afternoon. She said that because McGee had left Bowerson along the highway in the extreme cold, investigators were still determining whether he died from injuries sustained when he was hit by the car or if he froze to death.
McGee was being held on a $10,000 bond at the Anchorage Correctional Complex Sunday.
Some lanes of the Glenn Highway were closed for more than six hours Saturday at the Eagle River exit as investigators processed the scene.