A Ketchikan man is in custody after allegedly stealing a pick-up truck, speeding through the Lemon Creek area, and crashing the vehicle before school started on Monday morning.
Darren Baines, 22, is being charged with vehicle theft, failure to stop at direction of a police officer, assault, driving with a revoked license, and driving under the influence. There was also an outstanding state warrant for Baines on a charge of escape.
Police believe that Baines stole a silver GMC one-ton pickup from a residence on Ptarmigan Street in the Mendenhall Valley sometime after 7:30 on Sunday night.
Just before 7 o’clock on Monday morning, callers to the Juneau Police Department reported the truck driving erratically on Egan Drive and, later, near Anka Street in Lemon Creek. An officer tried to stop the truck on Commercial Boulevard, but the truck turned around and fled the patrol vehicle at high speed. The officer did not pursue the vehicle. A short time later, another officer found the pick-up crashed on Glacier Highway near the intersection with Alaway Avenue, near the police station and not far from Dzantiki Heeni Middle School.
Sargent Chris Gifford says the truck was apparently traveling at a high rate of speed. Tire marks extended for 500 feet and the truck appeared to have gone up on the sidewalk for a hundred feet before ending up in a ditch alongside the road. A sign and a small tree or large bush were destroyed. The truck was totaled.
Both Baines and a passenger in the truck, a 17-year old Hoonah girl, suffered minor injuries. They were treated at the scene by EMTs from Capital City Fire and Rescue. The girl was released to a guardian.
Baines was later taken to Bartlett Regional Hospital and then lodged at Lemon Creek Correctional Center to await arraignment.
No one else was injured.
All this happened before Dzantiki Heeni students starting walking or biking along the Glacier Highway sidewalk to school. Gifford predicts “it would’ve been bad” if any students were involved. “It’s good that they weren’t,” said Gifford.