Erratic Anchorage Driver Bites Officer During Prolonged Traffic Stop


On Saturday morning, an Impaired Driving Enforcement Unit officer observed a driver performing several traffic violations and made the decision to pull him over, but the driver would not immediately heed and the traffic stop would be prolonged and take place in several additional locations with injuries to officers, APD reported Monday.

The IDEU officer initially pulled over the driver, who would be ultimately identified as 49-year-old Richard L. Eaton Jr at 3:44 am on Saturday after observing him making “a wide turn, straddle two lanes of traffic, and follow too closely behind the vehicle in front of it,” the report stated.

At Halligan Street near Muldoon, Eaton brought his vehicle, a blue 2007 Chevy Colorado, to an abrupt stop, exited his vehicle and ran at the patrol vehicle while reaching towards his waistband. The officer, while giving commands to stop placed his vehicle in reverse and backed away. Eaton continued to charge the officer before stopping and going back to his vehicle and driving away.

The IDEU officer, with his lights still activated, followed Eaton who ran a red light northbound on Muldoon while sparks flew as he dragged his partially detached tailgate behind him. Eaton, jerking his vehicle back and forth in his lane of travel, again came to a stop and exited his vehicle. Pen in hand, he approached the officer before stopping and picking up his now fully detached tailgate and tossing it into the pickup’s bed, shattering his read window as he did so.

Other officers arrived at the scene while Eaton paced back and forth all the while refusing commands and yelling and challenging them to a fight before once again attempting to get into his vehicle. Because of Eaton’s erratic behavior the decision to deploy a taser was made. the taser was ineffectual and Eaton swatted away the wires and postured for a fight, officers reported.

A second officer deployed a taser which took Eaton to ground. Officers jumped on him and attempted to handcuff him as he fought and bit one officer twice and attempted to bite another. Now cuffed, Eaton continued to kick and struggle as he was being led to a patrol vehicle. As a result, he was taken to ground again and placed in full restraints.

At the jail Eaton was administered a breath test which found no alcohol in his system and so was taken to the hospital for medical clearance. While there, a search warrant was obtained and blood was drawn.

Eaton was taken back to the jail where he was remanded on two outstanding warrants for assault as well as charges of Fail to Stop I, Resisting Arrest, Assault IV, and Operating under the Influence (of suspected drugs).

The officers did not require treatment for their minor injuries.