Alaska Senate Majority staffer placed on leave following DUI arrest
An Alaska legislative staffer was placed on administrative leave Wednesday after police say she ran into two people in the parking lot of the Legislative Information Office in downtown Anchorage while driving drunk.
Carolyn Kuckertz, press secretary for the Alaska Senate Majority, has been charged with two counts of assault, driving under the influence and failing to render assistance after the alleged collision Tuesday.
The Anchorage Police Department was called to the area of Fourth Avenue and H Street just after 5:30 p.m. According to witnesses in the parking lot of the LIO, a white sedan backed out of a parking space and hit a woman standing in the parking lot. Witnesses say the woman, Maura Selenak, was hit so hard her glasses flew off her face. When an officer arrived she was on the ground in extreme pain. Court documents say Selenak had obvious swelling and bruising in the middle of her back.
Witnesses say another woman, Chelsea Bookout, was also hit in the back of her leg. The driver of the sedan then stopped and, according to witnesses, had a look of shock on her face. When someone told her to stop, the driver said, “I can’t,” and then drove away.
One witness told police they could smell alcohol on Kuckertz’s breath. Police were able to get her license plate number and later spotted the car in the parking lot of City Diner. Kuckertz was taken into custody at her child’s daycare center nearby.
Kuckertz slurred her words and swayed when asked to stand and failed a field sobriety test. Her blood alcohol level (BAC) was .208 — almost three times the legal limit, according to APD spokesperson Anita Shell.
Kuckertz was arrested and the report was sent to the Office of Children’s Services for review because she was trying to pick up her child.
Selenak was taken to the hospital and released with no major injuries.
Senate President Kevin Meyer’s chief of staff Suzanne Armstrong says they found out about the incident Wednesday afternoon. Armstrong says Kuckertz is on administrative leave without pay until Senate leadership learns more and decides how to proceed.
This is a developing story. Please check back for details.
Editor’s Note: The original version of this story said Kuckertz was on paid administrative leave. She has been placed on leave without pay. The story has been corrected.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this story incorrectly placed one of the victims behind her vehicle. This has been corrected.
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