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Duluth man charged with crashing through airport gate, taking runway joyride

November 23, 2018

A 36-year-old man under the influence of drugs smashed through the gate of Duluth International Airport and took a joyride on a runway Friday morning before leading police on a short chase, authorities said.

Christopher Lee Dunker, of Duluth, was arrested and charged in St. Louis County District Court with criminal damage to property and fleeing police, both felonies, as well as driving under the influence, a misdemeanor.

He remains held without bail in the St. Louis County jail.

Officers were called to the airport at 4701 Grinden Dr. around 7 a.m. on a report of an unauthorized vehicle on the runway. The driver who authorities say was obviously confused was arrested after a short pursuit, said police spokeswoman Ingrid Hornibrook.

According to authorities, the joyride took place on an active runway while a commercial flight was boarding.

The FBI interviewed Dunker and does not believe the incident was related to terrorism in any way. Federal charges are pending.

Dunker has previous criminal convictions for burglary, disorderly conduct and selling illicit substances.

Liz Sawyer 612-673-4648

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