ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Alaska corrections officials are not investigating the circumstances leading to the death of a 21-year-old pedestrian who was hit by a car in Fairbanks shortly after her release from jail following her arrest for driving under the influence, a state spokesman said Tuesday.
Michaela Kitelinger was released Sunday morning on her own recognizance as required by the courts for first-time DUI cases, according to state Department of Corrections spokesman Corey Allen-Young.
There are about 1,600 first-time DUI suspects released on their recognizance statewide each year, and the state does not track what happens to them after they are released, he said.
Allen-Young said his department has no authority to further detain people in such cases.
“This is a longtime practice,” he said. “It’s not some first-time thing. The difference is, obviously, she died, which is unfortunate.”
Kitelinger’s blood alcohol level registered 0.185 - more than twice the legal limit - when she was arrested by Fairbanks police about 5 a.m. Sunday. Allen-Young said Kitelinger’s blood alcohol level would not have been retested before her release from the Fairbanks Correctional Center.
She was released at 6:32 a.m. from the correctional facility and was hit by the vehicle 23 minutes later. The driver of the vehicle was on the way to work when the vehicle hit Kitelinger, who was in the center of the road and wearing dark clothing, police said.
Kitelinger was pronounced dead shortly after being taken to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.
The driver had tried to avoid hitting Kitelinger, and a witness directly behind the vehicle backed up that contention, police said.
There was no sign the driver was speeding or impaired, and the driver was not charged, police said.
Kitelinger’s vehicle was impounded after her arrest, police spokeswoman Yumi McCulloch said.
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