Man indicted for dangerous driving spree was also Tasered machete suspect

A police officer’s affidavit identifies the man accused of dangerously driving across Juneau on Saturday and swerving at police officers as the same man involved in a machete incident last week.

The affidavit was submitted during grand jury proceedings on Wednesday.

Officer Lee Phelps writes that Cecil Trent Yeisley’s mother had brought her 23-year-old son to Bartlett Regional Hospital for a mental health evaluation.

The mother also told Phelps that Yeisley was the one who “tossed” a machete at officers during an earlier domestic disturbance.

Yeisley was indicted by the grand jury on four felony charges of third-degree assault and one felony charge of second-degree assault. He was also charged for failing to stop for a peace officer.

Police say Yeisley was the man behind the wheel of a 2010 Dodge sport utility vehicle involved in a high-speed pursuit Saturday that began on Hospital Drive.

According to a JPD news release, he had been fighting with his mother who was trying to get him to accept medical help.

According to Phelps’ affidavit, the incident started Saturday before noon with a struggle between a man and a woman over control of a vehicle near Bartlett House. The man was identified as Yeisley and the woman was identified as his mother.

A witness reported the vehicle driving down Hospital Drive with a screaming woman hanging off of it. It’s unclear from Phelps’ affidavit whether the woman was inside the vehicle or on the exterior.

She fought for control of the vehicle by trying to shift it into park or engaging the parking brake, according to the affidavit. Both the man and woman got out and physically fought, then the vehicle continued down Hospital Drive and on the sidewalk with the woman hanging on.

The woman was eventually thrown from the car at slow speed, and then the male driver went in reverse at high speed back toward the hospital, according to the affidavit.

The witness helped the woman out of the road and took her behind a light pole so she wouldn’t get run over. Then the male driver went forward again at high speed and the witness believed the driver was trying to run them down, according to the affidavit.

Other officers told Phelps about their encounters with Yeisley’s vehicle.

Sgt. Jeremy Weske reported his patrol cruiser was rear-ended at the McNugget intersection before he followed Yeisley inbound on Egan Drive.

Officer Alexander Smith reported heading outbound on Egan Drive when Yeisley crossed the median at 60 to 70 mph in an alleged attempt to hit him. Smith reported taking evasive action to avoid being rammed.

Phelps writes that Yeisley then nearly hit several vehicles when he drove against traffic inbound on Egan Drive.

Police say Yeisley also nearly injured an officer attempting to deploy “stop sticks,” a device that deflates tires when someone drives over them. Phelps setup the sticks near Egan and Channel drives. He was in the median on foot when Yeisley’s vehicle swerved at him.

Phelps writes he “heard the engine rev to redline” and that he had to run out of the way to avoid being struck. The encounter appears to have been captured in video shared by Facebook user Richard Koddi Moe.

Police say Yeisley returned to the Hospital Drive area and fled on foot inside SEARHC’s Ethel Lund Medical Center. He surrendered at Taser-point.

The five assault charges filed against Yeisley are related to placing three officers and two witnesses in fear of imminent, serious injury during the vehicle pursuit.

The two witnesses include the man who helped Yeisley’s mother to safety near the hospital and a fire department official who allegedly was nearly struck by Yeisley while driving a Capital City Fire/Rescue vehicle on Fritz Cove Road.

In another incident two days before Yeisley’s arrest, police responded to a domestic disturbance reported in the 2200 block of Muir Street.

A Juneau police department news release said the caller had locked his stepson, now confirmed as Yeisley, out of the home. Yeisley was having a fight with his mother in the area of Radcliffe Road and Berners Avenue, according to the release.

Wielding a machete, he left the area but neighbors later reported he was threatening to damage property in the 9300 block of Glacier Highway, including two cars parked at a business.

According to the release, when police confronted him, the man ran and at one point “tossed” the machete toward police officers.

An officer shot Yeisley with a Taser and he was taken into custody.

Yeisley was checked into Bartlett for minor injuries and placed in protective custody for treatment of a mental health emergency. Police were seeking charges for assault and criminal mischief.

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