• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
News Alert: DIRECTV Customers: Tell DIRECTV to bring back KTVA - Call 800-531-5000. - Read More
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

  • Alaska village banishes 4 people for dealing meth

    by Associated Press on Feb 24, 7:33

    The chief of an Alaskan tribe says four community members have been banished for dealing methamphetamine. Allakaket Chief PJ Simon tells the News-Miner that 25 residents confronted the suspected meth dealers and escorted them out of town. They were placed on a Tuesday afternoon flight. The banishment came after an emotional town hall meeting, which […]

  • Sports

    Aces coach, players try to process the end of an era

    by Dave Goldman on Feb 23, 23:00

    Alaska Aces’ Head Coach Rob Murray had a hard time finding the words. “It’s shocking. It’s disappointing. It’s … I could go on and use as many phrases as I want,” Murray said in an interview Thursday after the announcement was made that this would be the team’s final season. Before Thursday’s win at Elmira, Murray […]

  • Politics

    Bill to triple motor fuel tax makes first move in Alaska House

    by Liz Raines on Feb 23, 20:36

    The Alaska House Transportation Committee moved a bill Thursday that would increase costs at the pump, if passed. Alaska currently has the lowest motor fuel tax in the nation. The gas we put in our cars is taxed at 8 cents a gallon, and has been since 1970. Gov. Bill Walker wants to triple the tax […]

  • Alaskans react to reversal of federal transgender bathroom policies

    by Shannon Ballard on Feb 23, 20:14

    Alaskans are reacting to an announcement from the President Donald Trump’s administration Wednesday that says it’s dropping federal protections for transgender students. Trump’s stance simply means it’s now up to states and school districts to interpret whether federal sex discrimination law applies to gender identity. The Anchorage School District spokesperson Heather Marron wrote in an email […]

  • Politics

    Alaska Senate calls for across-the-board cuts to state departments

    by Liz Raines on Feb 23, 19:26

    State departments should be preparing for a five percent cut to their budgets — that’s the message from the Alaska Senate Finance Committee. Committee members are calling for across-the-board reductions during the next fiscal year, which starts in July. Members have said Health and Social Services, Education, Transportation and the University of Alaska are the top four […]

  • Politics

    Congressional committee asks EPA to give proposed Pebble Mine another shot

    by Heather Hintze on Feb 23, 19:03

    A congressional committee is asking the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to give Alaska’s Pebble Mine another shot. Texas republican Lamar Smith chairs the U.S. House Science, Space and Technology committee. In a letter to newly confirmed EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, Smith asks the agency to rescind its 2014 decision that invoked […]

  • News

    Alaska AG says feds couldn’t overturn state’s pot law

    by KTVA / AP on Feb 23, 17:09

    A representative for the Alaska attorney general’s office says a change in how the federal government enforces its own marijuana laws would not affect state marijuana laws. Department of Law spokeswoman Cori Mills says Alaska’s law legalizing recreational marijuana wouldn’t be overturned. She commented after White House spokesman Sean Spicer suggested during a press briefing […]

  • On-Air

    Reality Check w/ John Tracy: The uncivil war over the Confederate flag

    by John Tracy on Feb 23, 15:58

    You know the saying; a picture is worth a thousand words. The use of symbols is possibly worth a thousand times more. Recently, a group of kids from Chugiak High School got in hot water for posting a photo of themselves posing with a confederate battle flag. The photo made the rounds on social media […]