A traffic stop on a vehicle reported stolen led to a 15-mile pursuit that ended with three Alaska State Troopers hurt after the driver of the vehicle rammed their cars, troopers said.
Two troopers involved in the pursuit were cleared by medics at the scene, according to an online report Friday. A third was taken to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital and later released. The extent of the driver’s injuries wasn’t clear.
Lawrence Purdue, a Fairbanks resident, was arrested on charges of second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, first-degree vehicle theft, criminal mischief, weapons charges, reckless driving and felony failure to stop at the direction of an officer, troopers said.
Troopers responded to a report of the stolen vehicle spotted near Davis Road at about 10:30 p.m. Thursday, they said. The vehicle had been stolen at gunpoint a few days before by an “unknown male.”
When troopers tried to pull over the vehicle, they said, the driver didn’t stop but instead led them on a 15-mile pursuit during which he intentionally drove head-on toward oncoming traffic and drove the wrong way.
The troopers engaged in a PIT maneuver — a tactic used to end pursuits by bumping the other vehicle’s rear end sideways and triggering a spin — and the driver intentionally rammed two trooper patrol vehicles, significantly damaging both, according to the report.
The impact disabled Purdue’s vehicle and he was taken into custody, troopers said. After receiving medical clearance, he was remanded to Fairbanks Correctional Center on an outstanding probation violation warrant and the new charges.
Since 2016, at least 30 people have died and hundreds have been injured — including some officers — when police used a PIT maneuver to end pursuits, according to an investigation by The Washington Post published last year.