Charges: Drugged driver led 110 mph wrong-way chase
The driver in a Friday wrong-way chase on the Glenn Highway hit triple-digit speeds and was suspected of using heroin, according to charges filed against him over the weekend.
Corey J. Murphy, 32, is charged with drug-based DUI, eluding, reckless driving and five counts of third-degree assault in the chase, which was initiated by Palmer police near the Alaska State Fairgrounds. The pursuit ended with a head-on collision between Murphy’s vehicle and another car that left six people hurt and closed the highway northbound for hours, after Murphy drove southbound into the Glenn’s northbound traffic.
A charging document against Murphy, written by Palmer police Sgt. Jamie Hammons, said he had originally seen Murphy’s Honda Accord with “windows which were tinted too dark” at Commercial Drive’s intersection with the Glenn. Hammons followed the Accord to a nearby parking lot just after 11:20 p.m., pulled in behind it and signaled it to stop with his lights.
“The car continued to drive forward and then pulled back onto the Glenn Highway and lurched to a stop, rolled forward again and then came to a stop,” Hammons wrote. “I became suspicious of the car [having] a possible impaired driver because of the driving behavior.”
When Hammons got out and approached the Accord, it drove off “at a high rate of speed,” causing Hammons to begin a pursuit in his vehicle.
“The car never attempted to stop,” Hammons wrote. “The car accelerated to 90 mph and moved back and forth into the northbound lane of the Glenn Highway weaving in and out of traffic. I saw the car’s headlights and taillights turn off while it drove at a high rate of speed.”
After the car passed through the interchange of the Glenn and Parks highways, Hammons said it “reached a speed of at least 110 mph.” The vehicle kept weaving through traffic, and “turned its headlights on and off in an apparent attempt to obscure its location.”
At the Eklutna Lake offramp, the Honda drove across the overpass then turned south onto the Old Glenn Highway. After traveling on the Glenn, Hammons said, the car ended up turning south on Eklutna Lake’s northbound offramp.
“The Honda then drove south on the Glenn Highway in the northbound lanes against northbound traffic,” Hammons wrote. “The vehicle caused northbound traffic to swerve to avoid collisions.”
Bobbie Davis posted video of the chase's final moments on Facebook overnight Friday.
The car was ultimately stopped, Hammons said, by an offset head-on collision with a Honda Pilot carrying three people just north of the North Birchwood Loop and Chugiak exit. All three people in the Pilot, which ended up on its roof in the Glenn’s southbound lanes, were hospitalized for what turned out not to be serious injuries.
Murphy’s passengers complained of pain and were taken to Providence Alaska Medical Center, but their injuries weren’t serious. Murphy himself ran from the crash to a retaining wall, where he laid down and was apprehended without further incident.
“Murphy appeared to be under the influence of a controlled substance,” Hammons wrote. “He would start to fall asleep, his mouth looked to be dry, he frequently licked his lips, he had white spittle on his lips, his eyelids were droopy, his speech was thick and mumbled.”
Another Palmer police officer on scene, drug recognition expert Officer Tony Adlesperger, told Hammons that Murphy was “on the nod” and having trouble staying awake. According to Adlesperger, Murphy appeared to be “under the influence of a narcotic analgesic.”
Police found a 1-inch-square Ziploc bag in the driver’s-side door pocket of the Accord containing “a brown colored substance that appeared to be heroin.”
Murphy was taken to the Mat-Su Regional Medical Center, where a sample of his blood was drawn as evidence in the case.
Court records show that Murphy was arraigned Saturday morning. His next court appearance is set for Sept. 11.
Heather Hintze contributed information to this story.
Copyright 2018 KTVA. All rights reserved.