Posted: Friday, August 03, 2001

Three charged after burglary

JUNEAU - Police arrested three men early this morning on charges stemming from a burglary and assault on Columbia Boulevard.

Joseph Allen, 19, was charged with two counts of fourth-degree assault, first-degree burglary and providing false information. William James Musser, 18, was charged with first-degree burglary. Christopher Ray Reese, 18, was charged with first-degree criminal mischief and underage drinking. All three were lodged at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center.

Police said they received a call at about 11:30 p.m. Thursday that numerous people in two or three vehicles had approached a house on Columbia Boulevard. Three men entered the home, police said.

One of the men assaulted a woman, 36, who lived there, police said. The same man assaulted her again in the front yard when she tried to obtain the license number of one of the suspects' vehicles, police said. She did not require medical treatment.

Based on the woman's description, police stopped one of the suspects' vehicles, a 1992 Honda Prelude, with four occupants on Back Loop Road. Police are investigating.

Tape describes police chase

ANCHORAGE - Police officers alternated between aggressive efforts to stop Robert Esper and passive actions of following him at a distance while he fled across the city for 33 minutes on July 9, newly released police records indicate.

Esper, 19, and two other teen-agers died when Esper smashed a Chevrolet Blazer into an Anchorage Police patrol car driven by Officer Justin Wollam, 33, on the Glenn Highway. Wollam also died. A third teen-age passenger in Esper's vehicle was injured.

Internal affairs officers are investigating whether police followed the department's vehicular pursuit procedures while trying to stop Esper.

Anchorage police on Wednesday released tapes of radio communications from the morning of the crash.

Pursuit of Esper began after Officer Kristie Neddeau spotted him and radioed in her intention to pull the vehicle over, at 3:23 a.m. She said the 1985 Chevrolet Blazer appeared suspicious and might have had a a drunken driver behind the wheel.

Neddeau pursued the Blazer for one minute, then called in, "They're not stopping. I'm 10-6ing (disregarding)." The department has a general policy of not pursuing vehicles at high speeds.

A few minutes later, a second officer pursued the Blazer for 90 seconds, his siren blaring as he called in his position.

As a supervisor attempted to arrange for spike strips to be placed in front of the vehicle, officers lost Esper for about eight minutes. He ended up at a dead-end in south Anchorage. Three teens exited the vehicle, and the pursuit resumed after officers spotted the Blazer.

The tape records officers reporting Esper running off the road to dodge spike strips, officers backing off from high-speed pursuit in hopes that Esper would stop, and a supervisor ordering an officer to "take him out" if he threatens oncoming traffic by driving in the wrong lanes.

The crash occurred at 3:56 a.m. as Esper drove north in the southbound lanes of the six-lane Glenn Highway.

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