KDLG Header Banner Image
Public Radio for Alaska's Bristol Bay
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Attempted murder charge after dangerous high speed chase in Dillingham


Mary Tilden allegedly led DPD and AST on a two hour chase between Dillingham and Aleknagik Wednesday. A trooper fired at her truck when she tried to run him over. No one shot or seriously injured.

Credit DPD
Mary Tilden, 38, was arrested following a dangerous high speed pursuit Wednesday. She allegedly crashed into two AST vehicles and tried to run over a state trooper.

KDLG:  A dramatic and dangerous high speed chase ended with crashed vehicles and shots fired Wednesday night on Foxville Road in Aleknagik.

A state trooper, who will not be identified for 72 hours, fired on a small white pickup truck allegedly driven by 38-year-old Mary Tilden. Neither she nor passenger Manuel Brito, 23, were injured by the gunfire. Authorities say Tilden crashed into two AST vehicles and attempted to run over one state trooper, who sustained minor injuries to his elbow. Tilden and Brito were taken into custody on numerous felony charges, including one count of attempted second degree murder against Tilden.

The incident began in Dillingham earlier Wednesday evening as police tried to serve a warrant on Tilden, said DPD Chief Dan Pasquariello.

“Last night at around 6:30 p.m. Dillingham police attempted to stop a pickup truck in the downtown area. The driver was 38-year-old Mary Tilden, who had two outstanding warrants for her arrest for felony vehicle theft and an additional theft charge. The vehicle refused to stop, the police followed the vehicle,” he explained around 4:00 a.m. Thursday.

According to a sworn affidavit filed by police, Tilden “drove her vehicle onto the sidewalk” to evade the traffic stop, blew through downtown, turned right onto Wood River Road, and eventually left on Waskey Road. One of two DPD officers continued in pursuit as Tilden drove north to Aleknagik, raising “her middle finger at the officer multiple times” along the 15 mile drive.

Tilden and Brito drove across the Wood River Bridge and took the chase through North Shore Aleknagik neighborhoods. She then drove back across the bridge, back down Suravak Road, and turned south to Dillingham. An AST vehicle joined the pursuit at this point. It was 7:19 p.m., and the chase had been going on for just under an hour.

Tilden drove back to Waskey, then turned on Emperor drove through the residential area to the Nerka intersection with Aleknagik Lake Road. She turned north again and drove back to Aleknagik. Along the way, she passed three vehicles while driving in the center or left lane, causing the other drivers to take “swift evasive action to avoid collision," according to police.

“All road surfaces were icy and slick,” Officer Rodney Etheridge wrote.

Thursday morning on John Tugatuk Rd., waiting on an investigation.

Back in Aleknagik, Tilden turned left on Foxville Road. At the dead end, she drove into a field and circled back, smashing into one state trooper vehicle when she came back onto the road. A second AST vehicle was parked on the road, leaving room for Tilden to drive past rather than cause an accident. Instead, she drove into that vehicle as well, “colliding with the trooper’s vehicle and person, causing physical pain to the trooper’s arm,” Etheridge wrote.

Authorities say the trooper attempted to flee Tilden’s path, but she continued driving at him. This caused him to “discharge his firearm at the defendant for fear of losing his life by being run over by the defendant.”

It’s unclear how many rounds were fired or where they impacted, but no one was reportedly shot or injured by the gunfire. A senior state trooper investigator is expected on scene Thursday morning to further review the shooting. State troopers do not release the names of officers involved in shootings for 72 hours.

Tilden continued driving down Foxville Road. The chase ended shortly thereafter as she drove off the road and down an embankment. Tilden and Brito were taken into custody.

The dangerous chase lasted close to two hours, said Pasquariello.

“The speeds during the pursuit ranged from 30 miles per hour to 60 miles per hour but with the slick, icy road conditions, seemed like 100,” he said.

Tilden was charged with attempted second degree murder and 11 other crimes, mostly assault, reckless endangerment, and failure to stop at the direction of a peace officer. Brito told police he tried to get Tilden to pull over, or at least let him out of the car. “Brito stated he was afraid he would be injured in the pursuit,” Sgt. Etheridge wrote.

Both Tilden and Brito face burglary and theft charges from earlier this fall when it was discovered they were squatting in the summer home of a commercial fisherman. Some of his property was stolen and sold, and his home and vehicle ransacked. Police say those crimes were tied to expensive drug habits, and that they found Tilden and Brito last month in possession of a large piece of rock salt the two had purchased believing it was crystal meth.

Neither drugs nor alcohol played a role in Wednesday’s chase, according to Pasquariello.

An arraignment is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Thursday at the Dillingham court.

Avery Lill contributed to this report. Reach the author at dave@kdlg.org or 907.842.5281.