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Man arrested for crashing stolen pickup truck

Posted: March 27, 2013 - 12:06am

Police say they arrested a man Monday morning for drunkenly driving a stolen pickup truck and crashing it near Alaway Avenue in the Lemon Creek area.

The 22-year-old Ketchikan resident, Darren Robert Chandler Baines, was charged with felony vehicle theft, assault and failure to stop for police, as well as misdemeanor driving under the influence and driving with a revoked license, Juneau Police Department Sgt. Chris Gifford said in a release.

Gifford said Baines also had an outstanding $10,000 Alaska State Troopers warrant out for his arrest at the time, for second-degree escape.

The Monday incident began at about 6:50 a.m. when police received multiple reports of an “erratic” driver on Egan Drive near Fred Meyer, police said. Gifford said in a phone interview that the driver of the silver 1996 GMC pickup truck had ran one car off the roadway.

While one police officer responded to talk to the driver of that car at Fred Meyer, another officer responded to Anka Street, where another 911 caller reported last seeing the truck. The officer located the truck driving on Commercial Boulevard and tried to pull it over, but instead of stopping, Baines made a U-turn and sped away in the opposite direction, Gifford said.

Citing safety concerns, Gifford said the responding officer did not pursue the truck due to the speeds involved. Gifford did not say how fast the truck was going.

After losing sight of the vehicle for a short while, another officer discovered the truck had crashed near the intersection of Glacier Highway and Alaway Avenue. Baines had hit a sign, veered off the roadway, crashed into a ditch in the wetlands, Gifford said. He “did tear up a lot of ground” and scraped a telephone pole, but there was no damage to any houses or property other than the road sign, Gifford said.

Police said a 17-year-old female passenger sustained minor injuries in the crash. Gifford said she was evaluated on scene by medics, did not require further medical attention and was released to a guardian. The third-degree assault charge against Baines stems from causing the girl “physical injury through means of a dangerous instrument,” Gifford said. Her name was not released since she is a minor.

The truck was totaled, and police said they determined it had been stolen from a Mendenhall Valley residence sometime in the past 12 hours. Police called the owner of the vehicle, who peered outside and confirmed his truck was missing, Gifford said.

Police did not release Baines’ blood alcohol level content, but police believed Baines was drunk based on observations at the scene, Gifford said.

Court records show Baines was arraigned Tuesday afternoon in Juneau District Court before Judge Keith Levy. Police said he is being held at Lemon Creek Correctional Center.

Electronic court records show Baines was convicted of vehicle theft in September of last year in Ketchikan and was sentenced to serve four years in jail with two years suspended.

He was also convicted of vehicle theft and driving under the influence in Ketchikan the year before that in March of 2011, according to court records. In that case, he received a two-year jail sentence with more than a year suspended, records show.

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