Man charged in fatal hit-and-run says woman claimed to be OK
A 71-year-old man charged in a fatal hit-and-run near the Anchorage Jail over the weekend says he returned to the scene and tried to find the victim, according to court records.
Police identified the victim Wednesday afternoon as 35-year-old Michele Kulukhon.
Ruti Malietufa was arraigned Monday on a charge of leaving the scene of an accident after police say he struck and killed Kulukhon Saturday night near East 3rd Avenue and Orca Street.
According to charging documents in the case, Malietufa said he was driving east on East 3rd when he struck something. He says he stopped and went back to see what happened, according to charging documents.
"He said he saw a woman there and that she told him she was alright," prosecutors wrote. "He double checked with her, and after she again said that she was fine, he drove to Brown Jug where his wife works."
Police say Kulukhon was found on the ground in the eastbound lane of traffic with headlight debris surrounding her and one of her shoes was in the middle of the lane to her north. Witnesses told police they heard the impact and Anchorage Safety Patrol responded to the scene and attempted CPR until medics arrived. The woman was pronounced dead shortly afterward.
Witness testimony given to police described a yellow vehicle with business logos taking off from the area after the incident occurred. Charging documents state the vehicle was actually an orange Ford Explorer. Investigators used traffic cam footage to track down the suspect vehicle. In the footage, they saw the Explorer at the scene of the crash before it drove to a nearby Brown Jug, according to court records.
Investigators contacted Brown Jug for surveillance video in the investigation.
"A couple of hours after making the video request the manager of the store called to say that she was with the driver of the Explorer and that he was willing to turn himself in," prosecutors wrote.
The caller provided police with an address where Malietufa was taken into custody a short time later. Before his arrest, Malietufa drove the vehicle to his workplace, where it was found by police to have damage consistent with debris at the scene of the crash.
Copyright 2018 KTVA. All rights reserved.