• 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

  • News

    Riders put up ‘ghost bike’ in Anchorage for fallen cyclist

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 23, 0:13

    Cyclists hope that you see a new memorial now up in one Anchorage park. Wednesday night, friends and family dedicated a “ghost bike” in honor of Jeff Dusenbury. They put it up at Spruce Park where he was hit and killed this summer. Family and friends say putting up the memorial is like a pedal […]

  • News

    Mat-Su community responds to Rep. Young’s remarks on suicide

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 22, 23:47

    U.S. Rep. Don Young is not a person afraid to say what’s on his mind. And his latest comments aren’t sitting well with residents in the Mat-Su Valley. Wasilla High School is still grieving after a student died by suicide last week. Tuesday, the 81-year-old congressman made an appearance at an assembly at the high […]

  • News

    9-year-old Anchorage boy’s project sends postcards to child refugees

    by Lauren Maxwell on Oct 22, 21:52

    A nine-year-old Anchorage boy is hoping to brighten the lives of child refugees. William Scannell is a fifth-grade student at Pacific Northern Academy. His project is called Any Refugee. William and his classmates are making postcards to send to children in refugee camps around the world. William says sending a postcard to anyone is a […]

  • News

    Alaska files appeal of same-sex marriage ruling

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 22, 21:36

    The state has filed a new request for its challenge of a federal judge’s ruling allowing same-sex marriages in Alaska. The state filed a petition Wednesday with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has 29 justices. If the court decides to hear the state’s appeal, the state is asking to have 11 justices […]

  • Weather

    Evening News weather, Oct. 22

    by KTVA Weather on Oct 22, 20:40

    Kenai Peninsula and Prince William Sound Sunny skies with cooler temps in the morning and daytime highs. Southeast Showers to the south and cloudy, mostly dry to the north with some sun breaks. Mat-Su Valley Sunny skies. Some clouds in the Basin. Interior/North Slope Mostly cloudy for Interior areas, the North Slope will get light […]

  • News

    JBER soldiers train in bomb disposal

    by Bonney Bowman on Oct 22, 20:27

    Soldiers at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson conducted improvised explosive device (IED) training today, reminiscent of a scene from the movie “The Hurt Locker.” Members of the 716th Explosive Ordinance Disposal Company are keeping their skills sharp. In the exercise, the unit’s explosives robot has malfunctioned, so a soldier dons the blast suit and goes in to check out an IED. […]

  • News

    Sitka family turns home brews into booming business

    by Heather Hintze on Oct 22, 18:05

    It’s 5 p.m. on a Friday in Sitka and Baranof Island Brewing Company‘s tasting room is packed. Residents are lined up out the door to get a taste of the brewery’s new Pumpkin Ale. The brewing company’s owners say business has come along way in just three years. “It’s been an overwhelming response,” said owner Rick […]

  • News

    Pebble Partnership sues EPA again

    by Sierra Starks, Hope Miller on Oct 22, 17:19

    The Pebble Partnership is again suing the Environmental Protection Agency, this time saying that the agency has been secretly meeting with environmentalists in an attempt to undermine the Pebble Mine Project. In a complaint filed Oct. 14, Pebble is requesting that the EPA produce documents that were “improperly withheld” after a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) […]