Wongittilin charged on manslaughter in mother’s death
Witnesses told Alaska State Troopers that Felix Wongittilin was traveling very fast through Savoonga with his mother riding along when he took a left turn too wide, lost control and flipped his ATV in late evening of July 8.
The single vehicle rollover sent Wongittilin, 31, and his mother into the gravel by the intersection, according to court documents.
Wongittilin has recovered from his injuries, but Mary Ann Kulowiyi, 56, died in an Anchorage hospital the next day. An Alaska State Trooper investigation found alcohol was a factor in the crash.
Wongittilin underwent arraignment July 27 on Manslaughter, a Class A Felony, in the death of his mother. The complaint states that the defendant intentionally, knowingly or recklessly caused the death of another person under circumstances not amounting to murder in the first or second degree.
On the night of the accident, both Wongittilin and Kulowiyi were taken to the Savoonga Clinic. Wongittilin awoke at the clinic and asked VPOs to give him a portable breath test. The result, approximately one hour and 40 minutes after the accident, showed a BrAC of 0.098.
Wongittilin had non-life threatening injuries. A medivac flight took Wongittilin and his mother out of Savoonga for treatment. Mary Ann Kulowiyi had serious injuries and was taken by emergency flight to Anchorage. She died July 9. On July 10, a state Medical Examiner declared that Kulowiyi died as a result of her injuries in the collision.
Law enforcement interviewed Wongittilin in Nome. He admitted to driving as well as being intoxicated, saying he was responsible for his mother’s condition, according to the affidavit filed by Alaska State Trooper Timothy Smith.
On July 27, Wongittilin sat in a yellow AMCC uniform on the front bench in the Nome Court with no outward appearance of emotion. However, on his FaceBook page, Wongittilin, on the day of his mother’s death on July 9, wrote a comment: “I’m so very sorry dearest mother. This never should have happened. I love you and miss you always and forever and ever.”
Manslaughter is a serious offense, Magistrate Judge Bob Lewis told Wongittilin, carrying a maximum sentence of 20 years and fines of up to $250,000 if the State of Alaska proved the case. A plea of innocence has been entered and Wongittilin was found eligible for a court-appointed attorney for his defense.
Wongittilin remains in custody. Assistant District Attorney Tom Jamgochian asked for bail to continue at $25,000 cash performance bond. Lewis agreed and required also a third party custody arrangement for release.
A cash performance bond guarantees not only a person’s attendance at all future court dates, but also that one will abide by all the court-ordered conditions of release. Violating these conditions results in forfeiting the bail amount and returning to jail custody.