• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 29s

Woman found guilty in hit-and-run trial

By KTVA Alaska 4:48 PM March 11, 2014

Kayla Johnson was found guilty of a July 2013 hit-and-run

ANCHORAGE – Tuesday, a jury decided that Kayla Johnson would be held accountable for the 2013 drunken crash that left 18-year-old Tevin George in a coma for weeks.

Jurors saw evidence and heard witness testimony for days leading up to Tuesday morning’s closing arguments. Within a matter of hours the jury was able to decide how justice would be served.

Johnson, who was 20 years old at the time of the crash, had admitted to drinking the night she ran over Tevin George and left him on the street with serious head injuries.

“At that point, I was so drunk I didn’t even know what happened. I have no idea,” Johnson is heard saying in a recording of her initial statements played to the courtroom. “I had heard about the hit-and-run case the next day and I was questioning if that could’ve been my car.”

Yet Kayla Johnson’s attorney argued the July 20, 2013 accident was not her fault. Instead, George watched as attorney Thomas Wonnell redirected blame from Johnson to him, the victim.

“4 a.m. in the dark, in the pouring rain, with traffic, looking down at a phone. It’s not something an ordinary driver under these circumstances is going to be looking for. Why is he there?” Wonnell asked the jury.

The defense argued Johnson and George were merely in the wrong place at the wrong time. Wonnell told jurors Johnson should be found innocent because low visibility made the accident inevitable.

The prosecution argued that the crash was a result of Johnson’s reckless action fueled by alcohol.

“All through this she’s admitting how drunk she is, ‘I was drunk. I was messed up,'” said prosecutor William Taylor while displaying damning text messages sent to and from Johnson’s phone after the hit-and-run.

The texts showed read in part, “Drunk driving…Never again…” and “My windshield looks like I hit somebody with my car” and “good thing you didn’t get caught.”

Taylor said Johnson’s admitted alcohol consumption technically made Johnson guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

“If you find she drove while intoxicated, that is evidence of recklessness,” Taylor instructed the jury.

The case was submitted to the jury around noon. Around 2 p.m. the jury returned a verdict that left George’s family breathing a collective sigh of relief while Johnson succumbed to tears.

“We the jury find the defendant, Kayla Johnson, guilty …” said judge Matthew Warren, who was presiding over the case, as he read one guilty verdict after another. In all, Johnson was found guilty of DUI, tampering with evidence, failure to render aid, first-degree felony assault, minor operating a vehicle after consuming alcohol and driving with a suspended license.

“Kayla is guilty of everything that she has done to me and I am just happy,” George said.

George, who spent months relearning how to walk, says most of his physical wounds have healed, but says he’s still recovering from the damage the crash did to his brain.

Johnson’s sentencing is scheduled to take place in July.

Latest Stories

  • Anchorage store owners report increase in shoplifting

    by Liz Raines on Aug 16, 19:05

    Some store owners around Anchorage say they’re frustrated by an uptick in shoplifting in their businesses — and the Anchorage Police Department’s lack of response. John Staser, co-owner of Mountain View Sports says he believes it stems, in part, from Senate Bill 91 — a criminal justice reform bill passed by lawmakers last year that […]

  • News

    Pink slip threat hangs over teachers headed back to class

    by Bonney Bowman on Aug 16, 18:53

    Anchorage teachers went back to school Wednesday — the first time for many who weren’t sure they’d have jobs when the last school year ended. The threat of pink slips is still hanging over some of the teachers, even as they get ready for a new year and new students. Among those concerned for their […]

  • News

    Facebook bans white nationalist over hate speech

    by CBS News on Aug 16, 17:08

    MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – Facebook (FB) has banned the Facebook and Instagram accounts of a white nationalist who attended the rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that ended in deadly violence. Facebook spokeswoman Ruchika Budhraja tells The Associated Press that the profile pages of Christopher Cantwell have been removed as well as a page connected to his podcast. […]

  • News

    Governors of 2 pot states push back on Trump administration

    by Associated Press on Aug 16, 16:34

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – Governors in at least two states that have legalized recreational marijuana are pushing back against the Trump administration and defending their efforts to regulate the industry. Alaska Gov. Bill Walker sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions this week, asking the Department of Justice to maintain the Obama administration’s […]

  • News

    Loss of sea ice leads walruses to early appearance in Alaska

    by Associated Press on Aug 16, 15:51

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says Pacific walruses have begun coming ashore along Alaska’s northwest coast, and it’s likely because sea ice in the Arctic Ocean already has receded beyond the outer continental shelf. Walruses by the thousands in recent years have come ashore in early fall. The agency says […]

  • News

    NY Times’ editorial page editor: No apology for Sarah Palin

    by Associated Press on Aug 16, 15:42

    NEW YORK (AP) – The editorial page editor of The New York Times has been grilled in federal court by a lawyer for Sarah Palin, who’s suing over an editorial that linked right-wing political rhetoric to the 2011 shooting of former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords. The newspaper published the editorial in June after a gunman […]

  • News

    Airport post office taking over Anchorage passport applications

    by Chris Klint on Aug 16, 15:09

    If you’re applying for a U.S. passport in Anchorage you’ll soon have to head for the airport, as the U.S. Postal Service puts all of its local passport-related operations under a single roof. A dedicated passport center will open five days a week, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday through Monday, at the main […]

  • Peter Pan Seafoods Port Moller plant devastated in overnight fire

    by Dave Bendinger / KDLG on Aug 16, 13:13

    The 100-year-old Peter Pan Seafoods processing plant in Port Moller has been devastated by a massive fire that burned through the night and into Wednesday morning. So far no one has been reported injured, but power, running water, and most phone and internet connections are down in the remote community. Chris Clemens skippers the fishing […]