Anchorage man swerved to hit friend in fatal Glenn Highway collision, charges say

Anchorage Police Department downtown headquarters on June 9, 2020. (Lex Treinen/Alaska Public Media)

An Anchorage man was charged with murder after police say he left his friend on the side of a highway after a fight, then came back and hit him with a car.

That’s according to charges filed Tuesday against 25-year-old Brian McGee for a Jan. 2 incident. The second-degree murder charges said McGee showed “extreme indifference to human life” when he allegedly swerved and hit 26-year-old Chase Bowerson, killing him.

McGee is also charged with leaving the scene.

According to the charges, here’s what Anchorage police say happened:

Drivers on the Glenn Highway very early that morning called police about a silver sedan dropping off a man south of Eagle River, then speeding away. It was cold — about 8 below F — and the man was wearing only jeans and a T-shirt.

The charges say officers responded to the area a little before 4 a.m., but a police spokeswoman said they couldn’t find the man reportedly walking along the highway.

About 8:45 a.m., someone called police to report a body on the highway. Officers found Browerson dead, with his shoes knocked off, and a license plate next to one of them.

The charges say the plate belonged to a silver Ford Taurus registered to McGee. The car was at McGee’s home in Anchorage, with extensive damage and missing its front license plate.

In an interview with police, McGee said he picked up Bowerson earlier, after Bowerson had offered him gas money to go out. The two men had drinks at a bar in Eagle River before driving north to another bar in Wasilla.

McGee denied drinking at the Wasilla bar, but police reviewed credit card receipts, surveillance video, and witness statements, and concluded McGee had five drinks in the first hour the two were at the bar.

The two friends left the bar and headed to Anchorage, because McGee said Bowerson wanted to go to a strip club. But when they arrived, McGee told police, Bowerson said he’d either lost his wallet or didn’t have any money.

McGee told police Bowerson attacked him as he was driving north back to Bowerson’s home. That’s when McGee pulled over, lured Bowerson out of the car, and left him.

McGee said he thought he had hit a moose on his way back to Anchorage, but the charges say he also told police, “I didn’t see him until it was too late.”

Investigators determined McGee had swerved toward Bowerson, hitting and killing him. Their work tied up the Glenn Highway for hours, forcing drivers to reroute around the area.

McGee has been jailed since Jan. 2 on the hit-and-run charge, held on $10,000 cash bail. State prosecutors want to raise it to $250,000.

At a court hearing Wednesday, Bowerson’s mother, Kelly Trent, told a judge she wanted the charges increased to first-degree murder.

“He used his vehicle as a weapon. He may as well have gotten out a gun,” Trent said. “He is a murderer, and he killed our son in cold blood.”

In a written statement, McGee’s attorney, James Christie, said his client looks forward to presenting his side of the story, when the time comes.

“Mr. McGee and his family mourn the loss of their longtime friend, Chase Bowerson, and ask for patience as this terrible tragedy is thoroughly investigated by APD and the defense,” Christie said. “The McGee family extends their deepest and most heartfelt sympathies to the family of Chase Bowerson for their loss.”