Alaska Digest

Posted: Sunday, April 11, 2004

Man injured in rollover

JUNEAU - A 24-year-old man was medevaced to Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage following a rollover vehicle accident Friday night, police said.

At about 11:20 p.m. Friday authorities were notified that a 1991 Chevette had driven off the roadway in the 1300 block of Glacier Highway. The car went down a 50-foot embankment and rested upside down on a large boulder, trapping the car's occupant, police said.

Rescuers from Capital City Fire and Rescue cut away the roof so the man could be extricated. He was taken to Bartlett Regional Hospital, where he was listed in serious condition, and later flown to Anchorage. Authorities did not identify the man.

Police are investigating the accident.

Man gets six months for stealing taxi

JUNEAU - A man convicted of first-degree vehicle theft and drunken driving was ordered Thursday to serve six months in jail.

Joseph Gregory White, 36, had agreed to plead guilty to the charges with prosecutors dismissing charges of refusing to submit to a breath test and driving while his license was revoked.

He was arrested on Dec. 27, 2003. According to court records, he was accused of getting into a cab that had been running while the driver left it to collect a passenger. Police arrested him at about 2:30 a.m. in the vehicle near Front Street.

Juneau Superior Court Judge Patricia Collins imposed 12 months in jail with nine months suspended on the auto theft felony. She imposed 10 months with seven months suspended on the misdemeanor charge of driving while intoxicated.

She also fined White $4,000, placed him on probation for three years and revoked his driver's license for three years.

Collins required White to pay $1,606 in restitution to victims, including $1,071 to Blue Taxi.

Boy apparently shot with BB gun

JUNEAU - A 14-year-old boy apparently was shot in the arm by a BB gun Thursday afternoon while riding in the back of a pickup truck in the Mendenhall Valley, police reported.

The incident is not being investigated and was reported only for information purposes, Capt. Tom Porter said. "They just wanted us to be aware of it."

He said the 58-year-old man who reported the incident at 5:02 p.m. indicated that it had happened about an hour earlier. The man reported that his son felt a stinging in his arm, squeezed it and a BB popped out.

The boy did not seek medical attention, Porter said. The boy did not see who fired the shot near Columbia Boulevard and Poplar Avenue.

Kidnapping, sexual assault charges dismissed with misdemeanor plea

JUNEAU - A man charged with kidnapping and first-degree sexual assault last summer agreed Friday to resolve the case by pleading guilty to a misdemeanor.

Harold Wheaton Jr., 37, had been scheduled to stand trial April 19. After he pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault in exchange for dismissal of the original charges against him, Juneau Superior Court Judge Larry Weeks scheduled sentencing for April 23.

The misdemeanor carries a maximum jail sentence of one year.

The criminal complaint alleged that Wheaton forced a woman into his car on July 15, 2003, drove her to his home and forced sexual relations on her.

Police arrested Wheaton on July 30 after the woman reported her allegations to police.

Wheaton and the woman were scheduled to appear in court for a domestic hearing the day after the arrest. The woman had sought to gain custody of her 9-year-old son from Wheaton.

Defense attorney Steven Wells filed motions in the case, seeking records of the woman's contacts with police and her mental health history.

Wells alleged that the woman had a history of falsely accusing men of sexually assaulting her.

Juneau District Attorney Patrick Gullufsen opposed the motion and termed the allegations of false sex-crime allegations "unsubstantiated." He noted that Alaska rules of evidence place strict limits on the admissibility of a sexual assault victim's prior sexual conduct and presumes that conduct after one year is inadmissible.

Weeks had not ruled on the defense motion.

Police refer sex assault allegations to prosecutors

JUNEAU - Police have referred allegations that a Juneau-Douglas High School student was sexually assaulted at the end of February to state prosecutors.

Police Sgt. Troy Wilson said Friday that officers have completed the primary investigation into the allegations. "It's the district attorney's office that would determine any charges," he said.

In March, Wilson reported that police were interviewing students from Juneau and Sitka in relation to the allegation.

Longtime Eaglecrest manager to retire

JUNEAU - Paul Swanson will retire June 30 after 16 years as manager of Eaglecrest Ski Area on Douglas Island.

"It has been my privilege to further the progress of Eaglecrest to the area that is it is today - a unique and dynamic mountain that many consider one of Juneau's finest recreational assets," Swanson said in a prepared statement.

Since 1988, Swanson has overseen facility and infrastructure improvements including the recent parking lot expansion and paving, improved Nordic trails, a terrain park and a snow tubing area.

Swanson will consult with Eaglecrest's board of directors on the future of the ski area.

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