• 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

  • Weather

    Another round of snow across Alaska: Winter weather advisories in effect

    by Melissa Frey on Jan 15, 21:14

    The next storm system to impact Southcentral, southeast and interior Alaska is moving into Prince William Sound Sunday night. Here’s how this storm will affect each region: Southcentral Snow showers started picking up Sunday evening and will continue to fall overnight through early afternoon on Monday. Most of the area is under a winter weather […]

  • Sports

    Basketball team from Florida travels to Alaska

    by John Thompson on Jan 15, 19:18

    When the Riverview Rams boys basketball team boarded a plane in Sarasota, Florida, they had no idea what what was waiting for them in Alaska. Most players had never seen snow, and some had never flown on a plane. Riverview Rams of Sarasota, FL basketball team explore AK Wildlife Conservation Center in Portage @airlinesclassic #AAClassic17 […]

  • News

    Chalkyitsik, Fort Yukon tribes celebrate historic land-use plan

    by Rhonda McBride on Jan 15, 18:35

    As one tribal leader put it: The land is our culture and our culture is the land. That’s why two interior Alaska tribes in Chalkyitsik and Fort Yukon celebrated historic land-use agreements with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) that were more than eight years in the making. The BLM land-use plan covers about 6.5 […]

  • News

    ‘Positive and happy’: Friend describes woman found dead in her vehicle

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 15, 16:28

    Two communities are mourning the loss of a young woman from Nome, who, after being reported missing, was found dead in an Anchorage parking lot. Martina Painter, 25, was found inside her car Thursday afternoon near University Lake, according to police. Police said a family member reported her missing in Anchorage Wednesday night when she didn’t […]

  • News

    Delta flight makes unexpected landing in Cold Bay, FAA points to engine trouble

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 15, 14:01

    Last updated at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 15 ANCHORAGE — A Delta Airlines flight made an emergency landing in Cold Bay Saturday morning after experiencing what an aviation official described as engine trouble. Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer confirmed the flight’s detour, but couldn’t elaborate further about what was wrong with the plane. […]

  • Lifestyle

    ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’: Ringling Brothers circus to end after 146 years

    by KTVA / AP on Jan 15, 12:57

    The owners of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced Saturday that they will close the 146-year-old show in May. Kenneth Feld, the chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, which owns the circus, said declining attendance combined with high operating costs are among the reasons for closing. “There isn’t any one thing,” Feld told […]

  • Guests at Dimond Center Hotel details late-night shooting

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 15, 12:11

    Last updated at 11:40 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 15 ANCHORAGE — Multiple shots were fired outside the Dimond Center Hotel Saturday night, striking the north side of the building and breaking at least one window. Anchorage police issued a dispatch about the shooting at 11:25 p.m., saying they had responded to the scene of the […]

  • Politics

    Alaska legislators see urgency in budget work but face rifts

    by Associated Press on Jan 15, 11:39

    Alaska legislators agree on the need to address the state’s multibillion-dollar budget deficit. But rifts remain over how best to do that, with divisions forming over taxes, how much to keep cutting spending and whether the state needs to tinker with Alaskans’ beloved yearly oil wealth check. A new 90-day legislative session begins Tuesday. Many […]