• 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

    Weekend weather forecast

    by KTVA Weather on Jan 24, 18:29

    Many areas across the Anchorage Bowl saw 3 to 5 inches of snow accumulation with this last snowfall. High pressure is already building in from the east, and it will produce lots of sunshine across the area as we head into Sunday. The trade-off will be pure cold weather with many locations barely getting out […]

  • Sports

    South Anchorage football hires Chris Borst, former Dimond head coach

    by KTVA Sports on Jan 24, 15:21

    After spending five seasons as head football coach for Dimond High School, Chris Borst is moving across town to coach alongside John Lewis at South. Citing differences in coaching philosophies, Borst left Dimond at the end of the 2014 football season. Former Lynx strength coach Nick Winkler will take over head-coaching duties at Dimond. This is […]

  • Politics

    Palin for president? Former AK governor ‘seriously interested’ in 2016 bid

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 24, 14:36

    Sarah Palin is “seriously interested” in running a 2016 campaign for the White House, according to a recent interview with the Washington Post. The former Alaska governor, the GOP’s 2008 nominee for vice president – and current star of the Sportsman Channel’s Amazing America with Sarah Palin — was asked by the Washington Post whether she was considering […]

  • News

    Anchorage man fatally struck by vehicle in Las Vegas area

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 24, 13:31

    An Anchorage man was struck and killed by a vehicle Thursday evening in the Las Vegas area as he crossed a highway, according to the Nevada Department of Public Safety. According to other local news outlets in the area, the Clark County coroner’s office has identified the man as 57-year-old Aarnout Michael Berry, of Anchorage. At […]

  • News

    Army soldiers at JBER, Fort Wainwright at risk of being cut

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 24, 12:39

    U.S. Army officials are holding meetings with 30 communities across the country as decisions are being made about where to cut around 120,000 troops by 2017. Alaska’s Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and Fort Wainwright are on the list of bases where reductions could be made. Municipality of Anchorage staff are told that it will be up to […]

  • News

    Anchorage police: 58-year-old male found safe

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 24, 12:35

    UPDATE: Anchorage police say Marion Dale Quint has been located and is safe. Original story The Anchorage Police Department is asking for public help finding a missing 58-year-old man last seen Saturday morning. Marion Dale Quint left his assisted living home on foot around 9 a.m., according to a statement from APD. The assisted living home […]

  • Politics

    Gov. Walker: Not easy to be the messenger

    by Rhonda McBride on Jan 24, 12:04

    Gov. Bill Walker said, for the first time in a long time, he had a good night’s sleep after he delivered his State of the Budget address on Thursday. He said it felt good to get the job done. “It was a critical message to get out to Alaskans,” said Walker. The governor said the […]

  • News

    New report reveals behavioral health crisis in Mat-Su

    by Kate McPherson on Jan 23, 23:18

    Not enough is being done to help Mat-Su Valley residents with mental health and substance abuse problems, according to a new report published by the Mat-Su Health Foundation. The report examined the care Mat-Su residents receive when they are experiencing a behavioral health crisis, brought on by mental health and substance abuse problems. A lack […]