State Briefs

Posted: Sunday, November 04, 2001

Officer shoots his car

ANCHORAGE - A police officer fired three shots at his own patrol car early Friday morning after a drunken-driving suspect got in and drove away.

The officer's shots flattened two tires but the suspect was able to drive several blocks away.

A short time later police arrested Robert Hernandez, 43. He was charged with eluding, vehicle theft, criminal mischief, resisting arrest, drunken driving and driving with a suspended license.

Hernandez also had been sought on a $10,000 warrant for prison escape after walking away from a halfway house earlier in the week. He was being held on theft charges.

An officer had spotted Hernandez driving a car erratically near the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport and tried to pull him over. The car sped away and the officer didn't pursue.

A short time later, another officer spotted the car and it again sped away. However, the car fishtailed and drove into a ditch.

The driver ran. Officers chased him and apparently engaged in a short tussle with the suspect, police said. The suspect broke free, doubled back to a running police car, got in and attempted to drive away.

The patrol officer who had left the car running fired three shots at the car from close range, hitting the driver-side front tire, driver-side rear tire and driver-side rear hubcap. The suspect drove the stolen patrol car with flat tires several blocks and fled on foot again. Officers arrested Hernandez in the back yard of a home shortly after midnight.

Troopers appoint first female lieutenant

ANCHORAGE - Alaska State Troopers have promoted the first woman with the troopers to reach the rank of lieutenant.

Sgt. Julia Grimes is an 18-year trooper veteran. She has held numerous assignments and recently supervised the State Drug Enforcement Unit's airport interdiction team.

In her new role, Grimes will join the director's staff at trooper headquarters in Anchorage, supervising permits and licensing.

Defense force wants more recruits

FAIRBANKS - Taking advantage of the sudden spotlight, the Alaska State Defense Force announced it was looking for new recruits.

The volunteer force gained statewide attention this week when Gov. Tony Knowles asked it to help Alaska State Troopers staff a Dalton Highway security checkpoint. The checkpoint is to help guard the trans-Alaska oil pipeline.

Statewide the force was used in search and rescue efforts after the January 2000 Turnagain Arm avalanche. It also was used for security during the 1996 Miller's Reach fire near Big Lake.

Those interested in signing up must be Alaska residents, in good health and at least 17 years old. For more information call 2nd Lt. Ron Schramm at (907) 456-2452.

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