Local Briefs

Posted: Friday, August 17, 2001

Driver hits tree after police chase

JUNEAU - No one was hurt but a man was arrested Thursday night after he drove into a tree after trying to outrun police.

Matthew Ralph Mielke, 18, was charged with felony failure to stop for a peace officer and misdemeanor misconduct involving a controlled substance stemming from an incident at 8:32 p.m. Thursday near Egan Drive, according to a police press release. Mielke was traveling toward downtown on Egan Drive when police attempted to stop him for speeding, police said.

Police Capt. Tom Porter refused to disclose Mielke's speed. Porter said because Mielke faces a felony charge and police are using the speed as part of the charges he would not provide the information, but may release it later.

After police tried to stop him, Mielke turned onto Glacier Highway at the Salmon Creek intersection, according to police. He continued onto Hospital Drive at a high rate of speed, but hit a dead end and drove off the road, striking a tree, police said. Mielke then got out of the vehicle and ran into the woods where police caught and arrested him, they said. He was lodged at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center.

Porter said police don't know yet why Mielke tried to get away, but a factor may have been the controlled substance police found. Porter said police found a "very small amount," plus paraphernalia.

He would not disclose the type of substance or where police found it, but said alcohol was not a factor.

More construction planned for Treadwell

JUNEAU - A portion of Treadwell Historical Park near Sandy Beach will be closed this weekend while city Parks and Recreation staff thin trees near historic buildings.

"It's been needed for a while," said Kim Kiefer, Parks and Recreation director. "The area's grown up considerably and we haven't done any tree trimming."

Cutting back the forest will improve the view as well as the long-term health of the buildings and allow the plant succession process to follow its natural course, she said. Now, the trees in the forest are all the same age, Kiefer said. This can be a dangerous situation, she added, because a bug could wipe out the entire population.

The park will be closed from the Sandy Beach shelters to the avalanche gun mounts on the beach, and from the beach up to and including the trail from St. Ann's Avenue. Historical trails beyond the closed area may be accessed at the avalanche gun mounts on the beach.

Most trimming work will be concentrated in the vicinity of the old Central Steam Plant, Kiefer said. There are no plans to further expand the trails. Recent work has widened and smoothed trails in the area.

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