Truck plunges off switchback
BY MICHAEL ARMSTRONG
An accused drunk driver escaped from an Alaska State Trooper last Tuesday after he drove his 2007 Chevrolet pickup truck over a steep embankment on the Kachemak Selo switchback trail at the end of East End Road.
Wanted for driving under the influence, resisting arrest and other charges is Vladimir Kuzmin, 18, of Delta Junction.
Trooper Michael Henry went to the Old Believer village about 10:20 p.m. April 21 after a citizen reported the crash on the steep trail near the beach. Two passengers believed to have been injured in the wreck had left the scene by the time Henry arrived, but Kuzmin was still there. Henry found the truck nose down after it went over the edge on a hairpin turn and landed about 30-40 feet on the road below. The road winds from East End Road to the village near the head of Kachemak Bay, with several steep drop-offs along the way.
«It wasn’t as bad as it could have been,» Henry said.
Kuzmin told Henry two passengers were in the truck but had left. A cracked windshield suggested one passenger had a head injury, Henry said. Henry said Kuzmin failed field sobriety tests and appeared intoxicated. While Henry tried to handcuff Kuzmin, Kuzmin spun away. Henry wrestled Kuzmin to the ground, and they tumbled down the trail a short distance to the beach, Henry said. Kuzmin ran away and Henry almost caught him when he stumbled in a dip and fell. Kuzmin was last seen heading toward Kachemak Selo and is believed to have left the area, Henry said.
Henry suffered minor scrapes and bruises from rolling around in the gravel. He said he did not know the condition of Kuzmin or his passengers or if they got medical treatment. The accident caused more than $10,000 in damage to the truck.
Kuzmin also was charged with reckless endangerment, failure to give immediate notice of an accident, assault on an officer, resisting arrest, fourth-degree escape, tampering with evidence, minor consuming alcohol and minor operating a vehicle after consuming alcohol. Anyone with information on Kuzmin’s whereabouts is asked to call the Alaska State Troopers at 235-8239.
Michael Armstrong can be reached at michaelarmstrong.@homernews.com.
Story last updated at 8:53 PM on Wednesday, April 29, 2009