Savoonga man charged with manslaughter in mother's death after ATV crash
A Savoonga man faces a count of manslaughter in an all-terrain vehicle crash that killed his mother, after Alaska State Troopers said he admitted to drinking and driving.
Felix Wongittilin, 31, was charged Tuesday in the wreck, according to court records. An online dispatch said troopers were informed late on July 8 of the crash involving Wongittilin and passenger Mary Anna Kulowiyi. The incident took place near the intersection of Akeya and Airport roads in Savoonga, a community of about 730 people on St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea.
A criminal complaint in the case, filed by Trooper Timothy Smith, said witnesses reported Wongittilin was “operating the ATV at a high rate of speed” when it flipped and landed in the middle of the gravel intersection.
Both Wongittilin and Kulowiyi were initially taken to the local clinic for medical care, then flown out of town for further treatment.
“Felix Wongittilin awoke at the Savoonga clinic and asked (village police officers) to give him a portable breath test,” Smith wrote. “The result of that test, approximately one hour and 40 minutes after the collision, was a (breath alcohol content) of .098.”
That level was slightly above Alaska’s legal limit for driving of 0.08.
In a subsequent interview, Smith said Wongittilin told troopers he had been driving and was intoxicated, and that “he was responsible for his mother’s condition.” The state medical examiner’s office declared that Kulowiyi had died as a result of her injuries in the crash on July 10.
Wongittilin made an initial court appearance in the case on Thursday, according to court records, when a public defender was appointed for him. Troopers said he was initially held at the Anvil Mountain Correctional Center on $25,000 bail.