Chase suspect has history of drunken driving

Latest incident was third time in five years police had to use or threaten force

Posted: Friday, October 10, 2008

Last month, police said Victor Powell led them on a chase after he allegedly struck a woman with his van, was shot at by an officer and crashed into the Mendenhall Wetlands State Game Refuge.

It's the third time in five years that police said they've had to either use or threaten to use pepper spray, a Taser, or a gun in arresting Powell, according to court records.

Powell, 38, was injured in last month's chase and taken to a hospital in Washington. A hospital spokeswoman said Wednesday that Powell was still in the hospital, in "satisfactory" condition and has been transferred out of the intensive care unit.

Powell has not been charged with any crime resulting from last month's chase, though police have said they will file multiple charges against him.

If they do, it won't be the first time Powell has been accused of driving drunk and fighting with police.

"Victor is known to us, we have dealt with him before," said Juneau Police Sgt. Dave Campbell.

Powell pleaded guilty to driving under the influence twice in 2003. After he was stopped for one of the drunken driving offenses, he told police that he was "not going to be arrested," and that he knew karate, and then started a "countdown" for the officers to let him go, according to court records.

Police had to pepper spray Powell to subdue him, records show.

He later pleaded guilty to his third drunken driving charge and had his license revoked for life.

Two years later he was arrested again on charges of driving drunk. Police said during the arrest, Powell fought an officer and at one point reached for the officer's gun belt. The officer then threatened to use a Taser on Powell, who said, "I know what a Taser feels like" and stopped struggling, according to court records.

The drunken driving charge was dismissed, as were charges that he resisted arrest. Instead he pleaded guilty to a reckless endangerment charge.

Powell's encounter with police in 2007 was less dramatic. In March he was arrested again on charges of drunken driving. Police said he got out of the car he was driving after being pulled over and said, "I'm going to jail" and put his hands behind his back.

The drunken driving charge in that case was also dismissed. Powell was ordered to serve eight months in prison for driving with a revoked license.

During a court hearing, Powell told a judge that his criminal past was terrible and he didn't see himself driving again, according to court records.

Campbell said the officer who shot at Powell's van last month was back to work after being placed on leave for a few days. He said the conduct of the officers involved in the chase, including the shooting, is still under an internal investigation. He said he didn't know when the report would be finished.

• Contact reporter Alan Suderman at 523-2268 or

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