• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 32s

Final witnesses take the stand in July hit-and-run trial

By KTVA Alaska 8:38 PM March 10, 2014

A 2013 hit and run case draws to a close as the final witnesses took the stand this morning.

ANCHORAGE – A 2013 hit-and-run case is drawing to a close as the final witnesses took the stand Monday.

The then-20-year-old Kayla Johnson, who is accused of underage drinking, drinking and driving and hit-and-run, listened as an investigator testified for the prosecution and an accident reconstruction analyst testified for the defense.

But perhaps the most damning testimony was offered by eyewitness Conner Cucullu, who was inside the car at the moment of the alleged hit and run.

“I knew I had information that they needed to know, so I called,” Cucullu said.

The prosecution presented a picture that Cucullu said he snapped just moments before the collision. The photo shows Johnson in the driver seat with Cucullu in the passenger seat posing for a “selfie.” Cucullu said it was taken at a gas station near the same area where 18-year-old Tevin George was struck by Johnson.

“All of a sudden there’s … I can’t remember if she’s looking at the road or if she’s looking at me,” Cucullu said. “I remember falling forward because she had hit something. I asked her what it was and she wasn’t sure. I kept on asking her what we hit and she wasn’t sure, so we kept on driving and we pulled up on the side of the road a little farther up. That’s when she mentioned possibly hitting somebody.”

Cucullu, who was offered immunity in exchange for his testimony, says he and Johnson circled back to where they believe they had hit something or someone, but could not find anything.

Instead, police would later find George, unconscious with massive head trauma lying near Huffman Road and Gregory Road.

Accident reconstruction analyst Jay Smith testified on behalf of the defense that the July 20, 2013 accident was inevitable because of low visibility, partly because of the dark clothing George was wearing.

Smith explained to the jury that white clothing is visible up to 180 feet away, red, 80 feet. But blue or black, like George was wearing that night, is only visible 55 feet away. Smith said that would only give a driver traveling 60 miles per hour less than a second to react.

“With somebody traveling at 45 miles per hour, even you or I would have no chance to respond, and avoid this accident,” Smith said.

The defense attorney asked Smith if it would have made a difference if the driver was impaired by alcohol or not, Smith said it would not have.

“Impair delays your response and makes you make bad decisions, but in this case it would not affect any of the parameters that we talked about,” Smith said. “It does not affect what you can see, what’s illuminated by the headlights and does not affect whether somebody is walking down the street.”

In spite of Johnson’s alleged drinking that night, the defense argued the accident was not her fault. Prosecutors say, because of Johnson’s alleged underage drinking, fault lies on her alone.

This accident left George in a coma for weeks and unable to walk for months, his parents say. Closing arguments are expected Tuesday.

Latest Stories

  • Lifestyle

    Can breakfast help keep us thin? Nutrition science is tricky.

    by Associated Press on Jan 21, 18:45

    Cereal makers have happily encouraged the belief that eating breakfast can help keep us thin and bring other benefits, partly by paying for studies that seem to support the idea. So, does that mean breakfast is bad for you? Not that either. What it does show is how difficult it can be to sort the […]

  • Lifestyle

    Funding for opioid overdose kits offers ‘hope’ for Alaska’s drug epidemic

    by Johanna Eurich / KYUK on Jan 21, 18:30

    The state government is gearing up for a major battle against the opioid epidemic sweeping through Alaska, according to a report published by KYUK Public Media. Andy Jones, the section chief for the state Department of Health and Social Services, is heading up a new, statewide program to get the drug Naloxone, also known by […]

  • Politics

    Women’s March on Washington draws hundreds of thousands to nation’s capital

    by CBS/AP on Jan 21, 18:22

    Wearing pink, pointy-eared “pussyhats” to mock the new president, hundreds of thousands of women massed in the nation’s capital and cities around the globe Saturday to send Donald Trump an emphatic message that they won’t let his agenda go unchallenged over the next four years. As night fell on the East Coast, thousands of protesters […]

  • News

    Turkey fryer blamed for Colony Loop house fire

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 21, 18:13

    Slick, snowy roads made it difficult for emergency personnel to respond to a house fire Saturday. Shortly before 2 p.m., the Anchorage Fire Department issued a statement that 15 units had been dispatched to a home on the 2400 block of Colony Loop, where the fire was reported. According to firefighters at the scene, the […]

  • News

    Heavy snowfall causes Dome roof to bow

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 21, 17:02

    Events at The Dome were canceled Saturday afternoon when heavy snowfall caused the roof to bow. “The snow load is causing some slight depression in the roof, and we’re working to remove the snow from the top of the facility,” explained Mike Martin, chairman of the facility’s board. The Dome, located at 6501 Changepoint Drive, […]

  • News

    PHOTOS: Women’s March on Alaska

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 21, 16:01

    While thousands of men and women attended the Women’s March on Washington, thousands more took to the streets in sister marches across Alaska. With a new president in the White House, many have wondered what new laws will be enacted and what laws would be repealed, such as the Affordable Care Act. The marches were a way […]

  • APD investigates homicide of 17-year-old boy shot in the back

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 21, 16:01

    A 17-year-old boy died Saturday after he was shot in the back in Government Hill, Anchorage police said. The boy was found in the roadway on the 700 block of Birch Street just after midnight, police said in a statement. The boy was taken to a nearby hospital alive, but he later died there from […]

  • News

    APD urges public to be aware of winter conditions following 2 possible cold exposure cases

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 21, 15:13

    Last updated at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21 The Anchorage Police Department says one person’s death Saturday may likely be the result of exposure. A second person was later found with similar symptoms, and has also died. The first victim’s death was reported Saturday morning after a male’s body was found outside near the intersection […]