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Crime & Courts

Wasilla man sprayed woman with bear spray and led officers on Glenn Highway pursuit, troopers say

A Wasilla man sprayed a woman with bear spray Wednesday before leading law enforcement on a Glenn Highway pursuit that included him driving through a fatal crash investigation and into oncoming traffic at high speeds, Alaska State Troopers said.

Eventually, 48-year-old Fred Morse was found hiding in a Wasilla shed, troopers wrote in an online statement. He was arrested on what troopers said are dozens of felony assault charges for the danger he caused to motorists, first responders and construction workers. He’s also facing charges of reckless driving, failure to stop, criminal mischief, violating conditions of release and hit and run, troopers said.

Troopers were initially called to the Jim Creek recreation area at 9:18 a.m. for a domestic disturbance that involved Morse spraying a woman with bear spray, troopers spokesman Austin McDaniel said. Morse fled the area in a gold sedan and refused to stop when he was located by law enforcement, troopers said.

He drove “recklessly through construction zones and a fatal collision scene that was still being investigated,” troopers wrote. Earlier that morning, around 6:40 a.m., a compact car had swerved into oncoming traffic and collided head-on with a pickup near Mile 7 of the Old Glenn Highway, McDaniel said. Troopers arrived at the scene and found that the driver of the compact car had died, according to troopers, and the pickup driver was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Morse drove on the wrong side of the Glenn Highway and “narrowly avoided colliding head-on with several motorists as well as responding Troopers at a high rate of speed,” troopers said.

Troopers stopped the pursuit at 9:34 a.m. near the Palmer Hay Flats State Game Refuge because of the risk to the public, McDaniel said. Morse continued driving up to 100 mph into oncoming traffic, troopers said.

Wasilla police and numerous troopers units responded to a neighborhood where Morse was last reportedly seen, troopers said. When he was located by Wasilla police, he again fled and eventually struck an unoccupied vehicle and the garage door at a home in The Ranch subdivision of Wasilla, McDaniel said.

Morse then fled on foot and law enforcement officers tracking him with a K-9 found him at 10:45 a.m., McDaniel said.

Troopers are asking drivers who took evasive actions on the Old Glenn or Glenn highways, Trunk or Fireweed roads or Fairview Loop to avoid colliding with Morse on Wednesday morning to contact them at 907-352-5401, McDaniel said.