Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 4:39 PM on Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Man manages to flee police after car chase

By Michael Armstrong
Staff Writer

A man who allegedly missed hitting by inches a runner on the Homer Spit Trail in a Saturday afternoon car chase faces charges for third-degree assault and first-degree failure to stop at the direction of a peace officer, both felonies, and reckless driving. Homer Police filed charges against Larry C. Volz Jr., 55, of Sterling, and seek a warrant for his arrest.

Volz had been wanted by police on a Federal Communications Commission complaint for making illegal FM radio transmissions, said Homer Police Chief Mark Robl. Robl said Volz made broadcast of "constitutional type" messages. He did not know if Volz is affiliated with militia or other extreme political groups.

According to a police report, at about 12:30 p.m. June 23, police got a tip that Volz's 1994 Toyota SR5 pickup truck, license plate GAJ 336, had been seen near the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon. Officers Stacy Luck and Ryan Browning pulled over Volz and identified him by a photo. Police described Volz as 6-feet tall, 190 pounds, with blue eyes, sandy brown and balding hair with glasses.

"All of a sudden, Volz put his vehicle in drive and took off at a high rate of speed," Robl said.

Luck and Browning got in their police cars and pursued Volz.

Hannah Heimbuch, a Homer woman had ran the Homer Spit Run that morning, rode in a car with a friend on the Spit. Almost 200 runners and walkers competed in the Spit Run and an hour earlier many would have been on the Spit. Heimbuch had seen police pull over the red pickup. Traffic was heavy, she said. Rounding the corner after Mariner Park near the end of the Spit, Heimbuch said she heard sirens. The red truck came up on her right, driving off the shoulder and on grass between the road and the Spit Trail. Robl said the trail was crowded.

"He passed that whole line of 15 cars," Heimbuch said. "There were people walking along who scattered to the side. ... It was very, very dangerous."

A Homer woman running on the dirt said Volz's truck came within 3 inches of hitting her. She told police she wore earphones and listened to music and didn't even see Volz go by until he passed her. She said she started sobbing after Volz went by because she had come so close to being killed.

"I realized I was three inches from death," the woman told Luck. "I know that if the man would have hit me, I would not have made it."

Volz turned right onto Kachemak Drive. Police estimated he drove 80 to 105 mph in a 45 mph zone. Volz also passed on the left, and narrowly avoided several head-on collisions, Luck alleged. Police called off the chase after two miles on Kachemak Drive because of public safety concerns.

Later on Saturday, police heard a broadcast on 105.3 FM from a voice they allege was Volz. The voice said police had tried to "lynch" him on the Spit and that they had "trespassed" against him. "I wasn't even trying," the voice said. "I hope you guys didn't hurt anybody back there."

Police said Volz has criminal convictions for misconduct involving a controlled substance, criminal trespass and making harassing communications.

Robl said police would be interested in talking to other Spit Trail walkers or runners, or drivers on the Spit, who felt endangered by Volz's alleged actions on Saturday. Witnesses can call the Homer Police at 235-3150.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.