On 03/28/2019 a Palmer Grand Jury returned a true bill on Ian McCleod Lleshi, age 35 of Willow for Felony Eluding, Assault in the Third Degree on a Police Officer, Assault in the Third Degree, Criminal Mischief in the Third Degree, five additional counts of Burglary in the First Degree, one additional count of Burglary in the Second Degree, and five additional counts of Theft in the Second Degree, following an investigation by a Mat-Su West patrol Trooper of incidents occurring from Willow to Trapper Creek. Charges for six additional misdemeanors for Criminal Mischief and Criminal Trespass were also filed.
On 10/22/18 at 4:30 p.m., AST contacted Ian Lleshi at a residence on E. Good Fishin Avenue in the Caswell Lakes Subdivision in Willow. Lleshi was in possession of numerous stolen items confirmed from 3 separate incidents in the previous month in the Willow area. Lleshi was arrested for the original charges of Burglary in the 1st Degree x 3 counts, Burglary in the 2nd Degree, Vehicle Theft in the 1st Degree x 2 counts, Theft in the 2nd Degree x 3 counts, Theft in the 3rd Degree, and Criminal Mischief in the 4th Degree x 3 counts. Lleshi was transported to the MSPT facility in Palmer and remanded into custody where he was held without bail. Investigation continues regarding other incidents in the area including the vehicle pursuit.
On 10/09/2018, at approximately 7:27 a.m., the Alaska State Troopers attempted to stop a grey 1999 Dodge 1500 pick-up truck near mile 63 of the Parks Highway in Willow for speeding and driving recklessly. Investigation revealed the truck failed to stop and a traffic pursuit ensued. The truck eluded AST by driving in excess of the speed limit and nearly colliding with a civilian vehicle. AST attempted to safely end the pursuit by using the pursuit intervention maneuver (PIT), but the truck took evasive maneuvers and struck the patrol vehicle. The driver exited the truck while it was still in motion and fled on foot into the woods near the Nancy Lake Parkway. An AST K9, AST Helo 3 and State Park Rangers searched the area, but were not able to locate the suspect. Further investigation revealed the truck was stolen from a residence on Dolly Varden Drive in Willow.
Anyone with information about this incident or who had to take evasive action to avoid a collision during the pursuit is encouraged to contact the Alaska State Troopers at 352-5401 or Crime Stoppers at 745-3333. This incident is still under investigation.