False claim of ransomed man leads to Wasilla wreck, arrests
A dramatic Wasilla traffic stop and arrest caught on video Wednesday was the result of an inaccurate report that “a person was being held against their will at gunpoint in the Wasilla area,” according to local police.
According to the Wasilla Police Department’s Facebook page, officers received the report – later determined to be “unfounded” – on Wednesday.
“In addition, there was a demand for money or drugs in exchange for the victim’s safe return,” police wrote. “Information was obtained showing the suspect vehicle and the victim were likely together in the core area of Wasilla.”
Police and troopers caught up with that vehicle, driven by reported victim 43-year-old Kenneth Coburn of Anchorage along with 32-year-old Wasilla passenger Jordan Melton.
“The suspect vehicle was located and officers from the Wasilla Police Department and the Alaska State Troopers attempted to stop the vehicle,” police wrote. “The vehicle initially attempted to flee before being involved in a minor accident at the intersection of the Parks Highway and Main Street. Minor injuries were reported by an occupant of the suspect vehicle.”
A video of the arrest, posted on Facebook by Lonnie Timmerman, shows police and trooper vehicles flooding the intersection as officers approach the vehicle with guns drawn.
Both Coburn and Melton were taken into custody, with officers arresting Coburn on charges of failing to stop at the direction of a police officer and four counts of third-degree assault. Melton was held on an outstanding warrant for misconduct involving controlled substances.
“Investigation into the initial report is ongoing and further charges may be pending,” police wrote.
Wasilla police know who made the initial call, dispatchers said Friday, but that information wasn’t being released pending further investigation.
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