Two men who allegedly fled from a police stop, crashed into trees and tried to escape by swimming across the Chena River were arrested earlier this week after being treated for hypothermia.
Joel Jeremy Fish, 37, of Fairbanks was charged with second-degree robbery, failure to stop at the direction of a peace officer, two counts of fourth-degree assault, two counts of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. The first two counts are felonies, and the remaining counts are misdemeanors.
Richard Garrett Baker, 29, of Soldotna, was charged with disorderly conduct.
According to charging documents for both men, at 4:50 p.m. Monday a probation officer requested that Fairbanks police arrest Fish and search his red Ford F-150 truck for probation violations in three separate court cases. Police tried to conduct a traffic stop at Cushman Street and Gaffney Road, but Fish sped up and kept driving. When he reached Noble Street, Fish ran a stop sign in heavy traffic, drove onto a curb with one tire and fled at a high rate of speed.
Police rounded a corner and saw Fish's truck drive through a field and crash into trees between Gaffney Road and the Steese Highway. Fish and his passenger, Baker, fled on foot, jumped a safety fence, crossed both lanes of the highway during rush hour traffic and hid in the woods.
At 6:15 p.m., police were notified that Baker had been seen trying to swim across the Chena River to the west bank near the Steese snow dump. Police responded to the area, and Baker tried to flee by swimming to the east side of the river. Baker was severely exhausted when he reached the riverbank and was treated by medics after being detained by police.
Fairbanks Fire Department began searching for Fish because it was believed he might have drowned in the river. A severely exhausted Fish was pulled into a rescue boat at 6:39 p.m. after being spotted on the riverbank.
Both men were taken to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital and treated for hypothermia for almost six hours while police waited to take them to Fairbanks Correctional Center. As staff were notifiying police that Fish was almost ready to be discharged, he ran out of the hospital and was tackled to the ground outside the entrance.
Fish resisted arrest, stood up and ran across the parking lot. An officer grabbed Fish's shirt, and Fish punched the officer on the chin. Fish was once again tackled to the ground. During the ensuing struggle, Fish told officers he was going to kill them, grabbed one of the officer's radios, was shocked with a Taser twice to no effect, and was able to break free and flee the area.
Three officers located Fish in front of a 21st Avenue apartment building and arrested him without further incident.
Contact staff writer Dorothy Chomicz at 459-7582. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMcrime.