A man accused of leading an Alaska State Trooper on an off-road chase in February and scrapping a stolen vehicle for parts was arraigned in a Kenai courthouse Wednesday.
Christopher T. Overhuls, 34, was arrested after troopers seized a flatbed trailer loaded with parts they believe came from a stolen red Toyota pickup, according to a trooper affidavit filed with the court.
Troopers found the flatbed near a Strawberry Road property on March 13, after a report of a suspicious vehicle in the area, according to the affidavit. While investigating the report, troopers allegedly found Overhuls, the trailer, five to six cars and a number of parts, including an engine connected to a transmission, front and rear suspensions, drive shaft, shocks, front and rear axles and tires mounted on rims, in the area.
The distinctive nature of the stolen Toyota, which had been customized by a previous owner, allowed troopers to identify the parts found in the trailer bed, according to the affidavit. The owner of a nearby Strawberry Road property told investigators that Overhuls had been working on vehicles in hopes of selling them, troopers reported.
Soldotna police reported finding the cab and bed from the stolen Toyota pickup abandoned on a Soldotna road earlier this month.
Overhuls also faces charges related to a Feb. 14 incident, in which he allegedly eluded pursuit by a trooper who was investigating potential trespassing at a Sterling auto body shop.
The pursuit began in the early hours of the morning, after the trooper spotted a red Toyota pickup — later identified as the stolen vehicle — in front of B&D Auto, according to the affidavit. The trooper reported that when he turned into the B&D driveway, he met the truck head on. The driver of the pickup allegedly reversed through the parking lot, onto the highway and then did a 180-degree turn into the southbound lane.
The trooper reported following the truck along the highway and onto a back road in Sterling near Eagleson Avenue and Higher Ground Street until both drivers found themselves unable to scale a large hill. The driver of the pickup then turned and drove toward the trooper, side swiping his vehicle in the process, according to the affidavit.
The trooper later identified Overhuls as the driver in the pickup.
Overhuls is charged with one count of first-degree vehicle theft, a class C felony; one count of first-degree failure to stop at the direction of a peace officer, a class C felony; one count of third-degree assault, a class C felony; one count of tampering with physical evidence, a class C felony; one count of third-degree criminal mischief, a class C felony; one-count of misdemeanor reckless driving; one count of fourth-degree criminal mischief, a class A misdemeanor; and one count of first-degree criminal trespass, a class misdemeanor. His next hearing is scheduled for March 27.