AST: Ejected Seward Highway carjacker tried to take 3rd vehicle
A man arrested Tuesday on the Seward Highway had stolen two vehicles, Alaska State Troopers said, and tried to take a third before he was stopped by various law enforcement officers.
The suspect in the hours-long incident that closed the Seward Highway was identified in a dispatch as 41-year-old Lance Colby Harrington of Utqiagvik, formerly known as Barrow. The sequence of events which led to his arrest began with a report just after 12:30 p.m. of a Toyota Tacoma pickup truck that didn’t stop for Anchorage police before it “continued driving in a reckless manner into Turnagain Pass.”
“Harrington rammed a 2016 Dodge Journey SUV that was parked in a pullout near mile 72 of the Seward Highway, that was occupied by five people who received minor to no injuries,” troopers wrote.
Immediately after that crash, troopers said, Harrington carjacked a 2017 Chevrolet pickup truck being driven by 46-year-old Palmer resident Paul Caron.
A charging document against Harrington, released during his Wednesday arraignment in Anchorage, said he had threatened Caron with a foot-long piece of angle iron taken from the bed of Caron’s own truck.
“[Caron] attempted to drive away from the defendant, who then jumped into the bed of the truck and struck the rear window with the iron bar until it shattered,” prosecutors wrote. “The defendant then threatened to kill [Caron], who pulled the Chevy truck over at Mile 71 of the Seward Highway. After the truck pulled over, the defendant overpowered [Caron[ and removed him from his own truck.”
Prosecutors said witnesses saw Harrington drive away traveling faster than 100 mph, before he lost control of the pickup as he tried to pass a semi truck. Troopers said the truck skidded into a ditch, then “hit a culvert and creek drainage ditch causing it to roll over multiple times.”
“Harrington was ejected from the vehicle and thrown into the woods,” troopers wrote. “Harrington emerged from the woods, ran to the highway, then attempted to take another vehicle that had stopped for the collision.”
The suspect was taken into custody soon after that attempt, troopers said.
“Harrington was arrested on scene after resisting arrest with a U.S. Forest Service officer and good Samaritan off-duty law enforcement officers who were vacationing from another state,” troopers wrote. “An Alaska State Trooper arrived on scene and took custody of Harrington.”
After Harrington was taken into custody, allegedly leaving the Forest Service official with a knee injury, troopers learned that the vehicle he had originally been seen in was taken from “an out-of-town family member” the previous day.
“[Harrington’s] pupils appeared dilated, his manner of speech rapid and incoherent,” prosecutors wrote. “The defendant made statements about people chasing him. He refused to provide a breath sample on a [portable breath test]. He refused to participate in field sobriety tests.”
All three of the vehicles Harrington stole or struck were totaled in the collisions.
Witnesses told KTVA that Harrington had appeared impaired, but Wednesday's dispatch didn't mention whether he was intoxicated.
AST spokesman Tim DeSpain said troopers were awaiting the results of a toxicology screening to conclusively answer that question.
"We can't just assume because of his behavior that he was impaired or under the influence," DeSpain said. "It's something that's going to have to be determined through testing."
Harrington was treated and released from a hospital, then held without bail at the Anchorage Jail on 10 charges including assault, vehicle theft, reckless driving and reckless endangerment.
Daniella Rivera contributed information to this story.
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