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Story Last modified at 10:21 p.m. on Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Police Briefs

Runaway driver caught catching nap

Annie Marie Nicholson stole a friend's green Chevrolet van and led Anchorage police on a Glenn Highway pursuit but ultimately was done in by a roadside snooze, police said.

The 33-year-old Anchorage woman took the van from a man who told police Nicholson helped with his children and was spending the night, police spokeswoman Anita Shell said. An officer saw her outbound on the Glenn near the North Birchwood exit just after midnight on March 12, swerving almost into the ditch and then crossing both lanes and nearly going into the median, Shell said. After police pulled over Nicholson, they realized she was driving on a revoked license – she had been arrested twice before for driving under the influence, Shell said. Nicholson slid into the passenger seat to call but then returned to the driver seat and drove away before a tow truck arrived, she said. The officer gave chase but left off at Thunderbird Falls, Shell said. An off-duty officer advised dispatch that the vehicle was stopped north of the Eklutna exit, she said. "She'd fallen asleep."

Nicholson fell asleep again in the patrol car en route to Anchorage Jail, and failed field sobriety tests once there, Shell said. Her blood-alcohol levels were estimated at more than twice the legal limit. Nicholson was arrested for vehicle theft, driving with a revoked or suspended license, failure to stop at the direction of an officer and felony driving under the influence, Shell said.

Amp-stealer goes rogue

Shane Stepp, a Palmer resident, stole a $299, 2,000-watt amplifier from the Eagle River Pawn shop on the afternoon of March 14, Anchorage police said. But when confronted by the store's owner, Micheal Scovel, the 32-year-old Stepp returned the amp, police spokeswoman Anita Shell said. Scovel called police with a vehicle description, Shell said.

Officers caught up with Stepp at Fred Meyer, but he fled from them because he has a suspended license, Shell said. He ran his car into a snowbank on a dead-end access road north of the Old Glenn Highway and the east loop of Fire Creek Trail, she said. Then he took off running, according to an account by officer James Conley. Stepp dove under a truck to hide but emerged and started running again, Shell said. Conley chased him and tackled him to the ground, she said. Stepp, who had four prescription pills on him, was eventually arrested for failure to stop at the direction of an officer, theft, driving with a suspended license and fifth-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance.

Broken glass, shattered security

A 46-year-old Eagle River resident said she was awakened around 5 a.m. on March 11 by the sound of breaking glass, Anchorage police said. The woman, who lives on Meadow Creek Drive, told police that someone broke the front door, which was three-quarters glass with extensive metal work and valued at about $450, police spokeswoman Anita Shell said. Someone also broke a $500 double-paned 6-by-3 front window and a 3-by-3 garage door window valued at $200, Shell said. The woman also said she thought she spotted someone dressed in black standing on the road in front of her home as she talked with dispatchers, Shell said. Police have no suspects.

Can my mom pick up that fake bill?

A 19-year-old who is a frequent customer at the Chevron Station in Eagle River tried to pass a counterfeit $50 at the counter there on March 13, Anchorage police said. When the cashier seized the bill, the teen didn't argue about it but did want to know if his mother could come get it, police spokeswoman Anita Shell said. The cashier kept the bill, the man left – and the cashier called in his license plate, Shell said.

Smell the big giveaway

Anchorage police said they cited and released Jonathan Blas, 19, of Chugiak for sixth-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance on March 13 around 2:30 a.m. Blas was stopped on the Glenn Highway near Birchwood for driving outside the solid line, and the officer smelled a "strong odor of marijuana," police spokeswoman Anita Shell said.

DUI arrests

Anchorage police said they arrested Ian Felland, 25, of Fort Richardson on March 13 for driving under the influence after he nearly sideswiped a police car at the south Eagle River exit of the Glenn Highway and was driving on the sidewalk. Felland's blood-alcohol level was estimated at more than twice the legal limit. He was lodged at Anchorage Jail in lieu of $250 bail.

Other DUI arrests, according to police:

Serena Lane, 35, of Eagle River on March 12 at the south Eagle River exit. Lane was stopped for erratic driving and did poorly on field sobriety tests. Her blood-alcohol levels were estimated at just over the legal limit.

Shannon Tallant, 36, of Chugiak on March 12 on North Birchwood Loop Road after he failed to signal and crossed the center line. Tallant's blood-alcohol levels were estimated at nearly twice the legal limit.

This article published in The Alaska Star on Wednesday, March 23, 2011.

Charges are merely accusations; defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in at trial or until a plea of guilty is accepted by the courts.