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01-16-08, 12:26 AM #1
Armed standoff results in suicide
Yesterday 4 miles north of my base, Alaska State Troopers spike stripped a semi (apologies to those who saw that I said it had a double trailer, I was misinformed at the time) without a load after he led them on a highspeed chase out of Fairbanks. He had threatened to kill a family member, and after his truck crashed, the AST's Northern Emergency Response Team attempted to negotiate with him during the 4 hour stand off
Driving on rims -- a spike strip deflated the two front tires near Nenana -- the big over-the-road truck crashed in a ditch at about Mile 292 of the Parks Highway, troopers said.
They found the driver, 35-year-old Steven Richard Schnekenburger, dead.
"It appears that he shot himself and then went off the road," said troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters.
The chase closed the highway between Mileposts 294 and 210 for about 3½ hours, troopers said.
Schnekenburger's wife, Rachel, described her husband Monday night as "the father of three children." She declined to say any more.
According to troopers, the pursuit started at about 2:15 a.m. when two Fairbanks International Airport police officers tried to pull the truck over for speeding on the Mitchell Expressway, near University Avenue in Fairbanks.
At first Schnekenburger refused to stop the red 2001 Peterbilt, said Mike Supkis, chief of airport police and fire services.
When the truck, with no trailer attached, finally did stop on the Parks Highway near Sheep Creek Road, the two police officers started to get out of their patrol car.
The truck went into reverse and tried to ram the car, according to a trooper report. The police officers got out of the way, climbed back in their car and pursued, Supkis said.
Troopers were called to join the chase.
"We weren't necessarily blazing down, chasing him on his back tires the whole time," Peters said. "We were back a ways following him, making sure we could keep him in sight."
Around the time the pursuit started in Fairbanks, Peters said, a distraught member of Schnekenburger's family called to report the driver had made threats to hurt or kill a family member.
"We have every reason to believe that he was heading south to carry out this threat," Peters said.
A trooper based in Nenana put a spike strip in the tractor's path at the Tanana River Bridge. The truck's two front tires blew out as it ran over the spikes, but Schnekenburger kept going on the rims, troopers said.
The truck continued southbound for several more miles until it went into a ditch near Mile 292, troopers said.
Troopers surrounded the vehicle and tried to contact Schnekenburger on his cell phone or radio. Authorities eventually launched pepper spray into the truck to try and get Schnekenburger out of the vehicle.
Just after 7 a.m., troopers climbed into the truck and found Schnekenburger dead with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to the report.
Laycie Schnekenburger, Steven's sister-in-law, said she had met him only a couple of times. His family had gone to Delta Junction, where his parents live, "to discuss whatever they could," she said in a telephone interview from Fairbanks.
The Matanuska-Susitna Borough issued a business license to Schnekenburger for a freight outfit called Redneck Truckin' in 2006.He who has the money, signs the cheques.
He who signs the cheques, makes the rules.
He who makes the rules, has the power.
He who has the power, has the money.
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