- Associated Press - Friday, August 19, 2016

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - The chief of staff of the city of Fairbanks was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs after his vehicle struck signs and a light pole.

Jeff Jacobson, 59, also was charged with failure to give notice of an accident, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported (https://bit.ly/2bD7vta ).

Jacobson was hired Jan. 4. He was a North Pole city councilman for eight years, the mayor of North Pole for eight years, and the chief of staff for Luke Hopkins, former mayor of the Fairbanks North Star Borough, for six years.

He has been placed on administrative leave until further notice, said Fairbanks Mayor John Eberhart.

Online court documents do not list an attorney for Jacobson. He could not be immediately reached Friday through a phone number listed by directory assistance and an email listing.

According to a criminal complaint, an off-duty Anchorage police officer called Fairbanks police at 12:49 a.m. Thursday to report he was following a compact sport utility vehicle speeding north on the Richardson Highway, the main route between North Pole and Fairbanks.

The officer said the SUV drove off the highway and struck an exit sign at the Mitchell Expressway.

The officer reported the SUV drove onto a grassy median, up a steep embankment and across the roadway and struck sharp-turn signs and a light post, which it knocked down.

The SUV dragged the light pole for several hundred feet. The SUV stopped, drove in reverse to free itself, and continued on, weaving and reaching 80 mph, prosecutors said in the complaint.

Fairbanks and University of Alaska Fairbanks police stopped the SUV at an off-ramp near Fairbanks International Airport. The SUV’s air bag had deployed. The SUV was smoking and it had severe front-end damage.

Officers said Jacobson smelled of alcohol and his speech was slurred. He denied drinking alcohol.

He told officers he dropped his son off at the airport, drove home and took a prescription drug but that his son called and said he had left his wallet in the SUV and needed it before the flight.

Jacobson failed field sobriety tests and was arrested. His breath-alcohol content measured .024, which is below the legal driving limit of .08, according to the complaint.

Prosecutors said property damage was estimated at more than $2,000.

Jacobson is scheduled for arraignment Tuesday.


Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, https://www.newsminer.com

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