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Pilot Pursues Car Down Runway

November 2, 1987

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (AP) _ A quick-thinking pilot sped after a motorist who roared past the nose of his Lear jet on an airport runway, cornering the car until police arrived.

Pilot James Walker obtained permission from the control tower before racing his jet down one of McCarran International Airport’s two main runways, trailing the speeding car until the auto grounded itself in a muddy median.

A police car that joined the pursuit behind the plane Sunday night arrested driver Mark Berry, 36, who was charged with driving under the influence of drugs, possession of narcotics, driving without insurance and leaving the scene of an accident, police said. He was booked into the Clark County Detention Center.

The chase reached speeds of 70 mph, Metro Police Sgt. Tom Keller said.

Police say Berry had lost control of his car just south of the Tropicana Hotel. Berry’s car plowed through a chain-link fence bordering the airport and sped along airport property before reaching the runway, Keller said.

The Las Vegas pilot was speaking to tower controllers at the time and asked for permission to chase the car until police arrived.

Permission was granted because police were not yet on the scene.

″They don’t call those guys cockpit cowboys for nothing,″ McCarran spokeswoman Vicki Donaldson quipped of the pursuing pilot.

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