ANCHORAGE, Alaska — 20-year-old Kayla Johnson, accused of a July 20 hit-and-run that left a local man seriously injured, appeared in Anchorage Jail Court for the first time Saturday afternoon.
According to charging documents, Johnson allegedly struck 18-year-old Tevin George on Huffman Rd near Gregory Rd shortly before 4 a.m. July 20 while driving a 2006 PT cruiser.
George and his friend, 17-year-old Allen Cragle, were crossing Huffman when a car hit George and drove away without stopping.
“It was pretty close to me, but Tevin saw something up ahead,” Cragle said. “He was like ‘Allen go look at that and he was checking something on Facebook.’”
George suffered massive head trauma and was initially listed in critical condition.
“He's not stable yet,” Michael Oustigoff, George’s stepfather, said. “He still speaks just at random you know he doesn't know what he's saying as far as I understand.”
Family members and friends of George filled the courtroom pews as Johnson held her charging documents attempting to hide her face from the court.
Court papers showed that police collected parts of the vehicle that had broken off and, “one of the pieces of the vehicle had a part number on it that came back to a 2006-2008 PT Cruiser.”
On Thursday, police received a tip that the PT Cruiser involved in the crash was parked in the driveway at the 10100 block of Goose Berry Pl.
Police found a black 2006 PT Cruiser with front end damage and pieces collected at the scene of the hit-and-run were the pieces missing from the car, along with “damage to the windshield which was consistent with a pedestrian strike.”
The owner of the home told investigators that Johnson owned the car and she told of the home that she had hit a stop sign; however Johnson wasn’t home when police placed the car in evidence pending search warrants.
Charging documents revealed that Johnson called a male shortly after the crash and told him that she smashed her car. He went to a church at Huffman and Pintail and saw that the car had extensive damage and asked her what she hit. Johnson told him she hit a mailbox.
“When he told her there were no mail boxes on Huffman and asked if she had hit a person, she said no,” prosecutors wrote in charging documents. “The witness stated Kayla was extremely intoxicated. When he went to give Kayla a ride home, she tried to take an open bottle of alcohol in his truck with her which he refused. The male that had been with her took the bottle and walked away.”
According to court papers, Johnson sent text messages and pictures to a second witness and told that person she had been in a crash, but “did not know what had happened as she was so drunk.”
“I don’t have anything right now,” Oustigoff said during Johnson’s arraignment when prosecutors told the magistrate some of the victim’s family members were in the courtroom.
“This hearing is just to make sure we have the right person, they know what they’re being charged with, and if they need to have an attorney appointed so be it, and you’re right, it’s just the beginning of the case,” Hon. Danika Swanson replied.
Johnson waived her right to a public defender after telling the magistrate one of her father's friends will serve as her attorney.
After the hearing, family members of George shared their thoughts outside of the courtroom.
"I hope she serves her full time, I hope she gets some treatment, some sort of help and finds some sort of compassion," Oustigoff said. "I hope in the end she becomes a better person out of this entire situation. I'm sorry it had to come down to this, but I hope it turns her life around for the positive."
Johnson has been charged with first-degree assault, DUI, leaving the scene of an injury accident, failure to render aid and driving with a revoked license.
Editor's Note: KTUU's Samantha Angaiak contributed to this story.
Contact Neil Torquiano