Man charged with crashing, burning state truck, trailer

ANCHORAGE — A Fairbanks man suspected of crashing and burning a state-owned truck 134 miles from where it was stolen was held Monday on multiple felony charges including arson, eluding and assault.

Sean Coursey, 34, was on fire as he exited a burning truck that crashed on the Alaska Highway 36 miles east of Delta Junction, Alaska State Troopers said. The truck was pulling a trailer that carried a small bulldozer, officials said.

Coursey was treated and jailed at Fairbanks Correctional Center.

According to troopers, he attempted to crash the truck into a trooper patrol car and started a fire on a bridge in an attempt to slow pursuing officers.

A charging document was pending Monday morning, according to online court records, which did not list an attorney for Coursey.

Troopers responding to another call Sunday learned that someone had broken into two state parking lots in west Fairbanks. One lot held vehicles and equipment belonging to the Division of Parks and the other had Division of Forestry gear.

Brooks Ludwig, northern region parks superintendent, said the stolen truck was attached to a trailer carrying a $65,000 small bulldozer, one of four in Alaska, designed for building trails. The suspect broke into a small building and stole chain saws.

Ludwig said Monday it wasn’t clear yet what was missing. A stolen drum of gasoline likely was taken from the Forestry Division, he said.

Troopers received word of the theft just before 9 a.m. Sunday.

At 5:30 p.m., the truck, trailer and bulldozer were spotted 90 miles away on the Richardson Highway near Delta Junction. Troopers attempted a traffic stop but the driver tried ramming a patrol car and continued south, troopers said.

As troopers pursued, the driver threw out objects and nearly collided with oncoming traffic, troopers said.

The driver reached Delta Junction and turned east onto the Alaska Highway.

After driving another 29 miles, the suspect stopped on the Gerstle River Bridge and lit items on fire in an attempt to create a barrier between pursuing troopers and the stolen truck, troopers said. One item offloaded was the drum of gasoline, which did not ignite.

The suspect drove another 5 miles and crashed as he was intercepted by a Tok trooper driving from the opposite direction.

Coursey was charged Monday with third-degree arson and six other felonies: two counts of assault, two counts of failure to stop at the direction of a police officer, criminal mischief and vehicle theft. He’s also charged with misdemeanor reckless driving and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The truck and trailer were destroyed. A trooper told Ludwig the bulldozer did not burn.

“The dozer is on its side,” Ludwig said. “He thought it might be OK.”

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