Sterling man arrested after Sterling Highway pursuit

Sterling man arrested after Sterling Highway pursuit

A man with multiple convictions — including for setting off fire alarms at two schools, assaulting hospital employees and threatening a taxi driver — was arrested Thursday in a reportedly stolen car after a police pursuit.

Robert Luton, 31, was arrested along the Sterling Highway on Thursday after Soldotna dispatchers received a report of a dangerous driver in a blue Dodge Dakota truck speeding and slowing down near the Sunrise Inn Cafe in Cooper Landing, according to an online Alaska State Troopers dispatch.

Whittier police had reported that the truck had been stolen from Coast Pizza in Girdwood, troopers said.

Troopers spotted the truck traveling south near mile 67 of the Sterling Highway, but it failed to yield to a traffic stop, according to the dispatch.

The driver of the truck continued south on the Sterling Highway, avoiding law enforcement-deployed spike strips near Watson Lake by turning his car around in a construction site and heading north, troopers reported.

When troopers deployed a second set of spike strips near mile 67, Luton allegedly stopped the car and got out, according to the dispatch.

Luton has had multiple run-ins with the law — most recently pleading guilty to disorderly conduct, fourth-degree theft and violating the conditions of his release — stemming from a Jan. 19 incident in which Luton threatened a cab driver and refused to pay his fare.

In 2016, Luton pleaded guilty to two counts of fourth-degree assault for threatening employees at Central Peninsula Hospital. Luton pleaded guilty in 2017 to misdemeanor counts for pulling fire alarms at two elementary schools.

Luton was scheduled to be arraigned in an Anchorage court Friday afternoon. Charges in the Anchorage case are pending. Felony charges for failure to yield to a police officer will be submitted to the Kenai district attorney’s office, according to troopers.

Reach Erin Thompson at ethompson@peninsulaclarion.com.

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