A Facebook user posted a picture of the boat in question to advise fellow Sitkans of the potential danger. (Photo/Aaron Martinez)

The Sitka Police Department stopped a man on a suspected mid evening booze cruise Monday night (6-10-19). After a chase, the police officer on duty arrested the driver at ANB Harbor.

It began with a grainy image and a post on Facebook. Then the calls started coming in to the police station.

“On Monday night June 10th the police dept received a phone call about a boat in the area of Eagle Beach and Indian River that was being operated in an erratic manner,” Lieutenant Jean Achee told KCAW.  

The department sent out a uniformed officer, who tried to make contact with the boat, which appeared to be beached. The officer saw a man outside the boat in the water removing what he thought was a rope wrapped around the prop.

“The officer actually waded into the water to make contact with the vehicle,” Achee said. “So he was in knee deep water in uniform trying to make contact with the operator of the boat, the operator of the boat didn’t want to make contact so he left.”

The driver jumped back in the boat and started the motor even as the officer told him to stop.

The officer was hanging onto the bow rail when the driver decided to take off. He was almost pulled deeper into the water before he let go. “He didn’t want to go for a swim,” Achee said. “You’re not on dry land on a road dealing with a car.”

It appeared the operator of the boat had been drinking. The officer figured, correctly, that his next stop would be the ANB Harbor. He intercepted the boat there and arrested the driver, who remains in custody

The individual was charged with a Class C felony for failing to stop at the direction of an officer and a pair of misdemeanors for driving under the influence and reckless driving. It is likely that his case will appear before the Sitka Grand Jury on Thursday.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story incorrectly spelled Police Lieutenant Jean Achee’s first name. We apologize for the error, and the text has been updated.