Car chase ends in crash, felony charges

Suspect charged with third-degree assault, criminal mischief

Posted: Thursday, April 19, 2007

A 22-year-old fleeing an assault complaint drove against traffic without lights on Egan Drive and led police on a high-speed chase that ended Tuesday night when he crashed into cars parked in a Switzer Village driveway.

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Juneau police said they caught Jason Kito as he fled the crash site on foot. Police arrested him on two counts of third-degree assault, criminal mischief, attempted burglary and failing to stop for police.

All four offenses carry felony penalties. In addition Kito was charged with driving without a license, and he had two outstanding warrants, police said.

The pursuit started in Douglas shortly after 8:58 p.m. as authorities responded to a report of an assault allegedly involving Kito.

"The disturbance was becoming increasingly violent," police Sgt. Tom Bates said.

Cindee Brown-Mills, a police spokeswoman, said Kito and the victim knew each other.

Police allege that Kito fled in a black Ford pickup across the Douglas Bridge before driving outbound on Egan Drive in the inbound lanes. Kito never turned on his lights during the chase, police said.

With three patrol cars in pursuit, Kito hit speeds of more than 90 mph as he switched to the correct side of the road and kept driving out Egan Drive. Concerned about a possible accident, officers slowed and followed Kito onto Glacier Highway.

Juneau police often back off if the shift commander determines a pursuit to be too dangerous, Brown-Mills said.

Kito was treated Tuesday night at Bartlett Regional Hospital for minor injuries related to the Switzer Village crash, police said.

No other injuries were reported. Kito was transferred Wednesday to Lemon Creek Correctional Center and was expected in court Thursday for arraignment.

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