• 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

  • On-Air

    Reality Check w/ John Tracy: What’s in a name?

    by John Tracy on Oct 27, 16:57

    The residents of Utqiaġvik have about four more weeks of sunrises until the sun disappears for another winter. Utqiaġvik is the Inupiat name for Barrow and, as voters recently decided, will be the official name of Alaska’s northernmost village. The vote was close — passage came by just six votes. Many of those opposed to the […]

  • DayBreak

    Mic Check in the Morning: The Hannah Yoter Band

    by Daybreak Staff on Oct 27, 16:11

    With a new album coming out Nov. 18 and a selection of shows this holiday season, The Hannah Yoter Band took some time out Thursday morning to bring their folky Americana sound to the Daybreak studio. Yoter said the album, “Something Good,” was recorded mostly live in a cabin in Hope, Alaska, where the singer hails from. The live […]

  • News

    Attorneys plan to seek mediation in Pebble Mine case

    by Associated Press on Oct 27, 16:03

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – Attorneys plan to seek mediation in a lawsuit between the group behind the proposed Pebble Mine and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In a court filing Thursday, attorneys for the Pebble Limited Partnership said the parties would seek mediation. A recent request by both sides to extend the discovery period in […]

  • Sports

    University of Alaska plan looks to cut skiing, indoor track programs

    by Dave Goldman on Oct 27, 15:24

    The University of Alaska Anchorage will likely cut its men’s and women’s skiing and indoor track programs as early as next year. University President Jim Johnsen and UAA athletic director Keith Hackett made the announcement Thursday at a joint press conference at the Alaska Airlines Center. It’s part of the ongoing effort since the Strategic […]

  • UAA’s ‘And Then There Were None’ opens for Halloween

    by Daybreak Staff on Oct 27, 15:21

    Agatha Christie’s murder mystery “And Then There Were None” comes alive just in time for Halloween. UAA’s Theatre and Dance department will be putting on the play starting Oct. 28. The show will run for two weekends. The plot centers around 10 people who are stuck in an island mansion, and they soon realize that they […]

  • Story Time w/Aunt Phil: The rise and fall of Knik

    by Laurel Downing Bill on Oct 27, 13:54

    When the U.S. Post Office opened its branch in Knik on Oct. 27, 1904, it signaled that Knik was a bonafide community. It only remained open for 13 years because of the federal government’s decision to bypass it when it laid out its plans for a railroad to connect Seward to Fairbanks in 1915. Thousands […]

  • News

    High school teacher attacked by grizzly while walking dogs near Seward airport

    by KTVA / AP on Oct 27, 13:17

    Last updated at 5:12 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 27 A man was attacked by a brown bear early Thursday morning while walking his dogs near the Seward airport. Ronn Hemstock was walking his dogs near the airport when he was attacked before daylight, according to authorities. He has been a teacher at Seward High School for 20 […]

  • Trick-or-treating family fun at the Alaska Zoo

    by Daybreak Staff on Oct 27, 10:15

    Trick or treat with some cuddly and scary animals at the Alaska Zoo as part of their Zoo Boo event this Halloween. The zoo will have trick or treat stations and educational activities. Attendees are encouraged to dress up. The Zoo Boo event will two run times; at 4:30 p.m. and another, spookier version, at 6:30 p.m. […]