A Fairbanks man was charged with felony assault and evading authorities Monday morning after he fled from a traffic stop, crashed the vehicle he was driving and barricaded himself inside for eight minutes.
The vehicle’s owner said she and Justin Michael Vantell, 25, met on Facebook and were having sex in the vehicle for the first time just before troopers arrived, according to a criminal complaint filed in Fairbanks court Monday afternoon.
Vantell is charged with third-degree assault and failure to stop at the direction of a peace officer.
Troopers responded to Capricorn Street at 2:38 a.m. after getting a report of a suspicious vehicle parked near a burned-out property. The vehicle, which was leaving as troopers arrived, did not have working taillights, and the driver, later identified as Vantell, failed to signal before turning onto Farmers Loop Road. Vantell drove up Ski Boot Hill Road and failed to stop even though two trooper vehicles were following with lights and sirens on.
Vantell drove on both sides of the road at speeds up to 45 mph on fresh snow, according to the complaint. He lost control of the vehicle while going downhill and slid off the road at Bruhn Road and Wideview Road. A snow berm kept the vehicle from going off an embankment there.
The passenger was ordered out first and had to put her shoes on before exiting the vehicle. Vantell refused to comply to troopers' commands, wouldn't keep his hands in plain sight and barricaded himself inside the vehicle for about eight minutes before being taken into custody.
Vantell told troopers he didn't stop because he was afraid of what they might do to him. The woman said she was pulling her pants on as Vantell drove and that he told her to shut up and said "I have a gun" when she asked him to slow down and stop for troopers. The woman said Vantell's remark about the gun didn't scare her but that she was afraid he would drive off a cliff because he was driving too fast, according to the complaint.
Troopers found a small bag of methamphetamine, which the woman said was hers. She was told a drugs misconduct charge would be forwarded to the district attorney's office and was released with her vehicle.
Contact staff writer Dorothy Chomicz at 459-7582. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMcrime.