Bethel Woman Arrested After Leading BPD On Car Chase

Joellen Stuart was eventually caught in the Tundra Ridge neighborhood; she is charged with driving under the influence, seven counts of assault in the third degree, and failure to stop.

Alaska State Troopers and the Bethel Police Department arrested a Bethel woman for driving while intoxicated after a vehicle chase Monday morning. 

Joellen Stuart was caught after leading the troopers and BPD on a chase throughout town for an hour and a half. Police Chief Burke Waldron said that BPD got a call about Stuart’s driving around 7 a.m. Waldron said that it was technically not a chase; the troopers and police officers stopped pursuing Stuart several times in the hour and a half. 

"We’d lose the vehicle and then it would come back into town again," Waldron said. "[She took] two or three trips out to the airport, multiple trips to Tundra Ridge. I mean, it goes all over the place. It went on for an hour and a half."

Waldron says that Stuart also clipped two cars; one was an unmarked trooper vehicle and the other belongs to an unknown civilian. A total of seven troopers and BPD members were involved at various points throughout the chase to identify her and eventually stop her. 

Waldron said that it became too dangerous to pursue Stuart without hurting other pedestrians and vehicles. Eventually, the Alaska State Troopers threw down spike strips on Chief Eddie Hoffman Highway near the post office. Those strips punctured the vehicle’s tires and helped the police catch her on Ptarmigan Street.

Stuart is currently in jail awaiting arraignment. BPD charged her with failure to stop, driving under the influence, and seven counts of assault in the third degree.