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Bristol Bay summer spikes for law enforcement, too


Dillingham Police and Alaska State Troopers fielding more calls than usual, with almost all criminal activity related to alcohol.

KDLG: Local police and troopers say they have been very busy in the last two weeks. Police officers are answering more calls for service than other times of the year, dealing with fights, petty thefts, and highly intoxicated individuals stumbling about. State troopers reported a death in Togiak Wednesday, and have several investigations open into allegations ranging from sexual assault to fishermen shooting a bear from a vessel.

A great majority of the reported activity is related to alcohol use, and occasionally drugs, says law enforcement. Recent charges include:

At around 9 p.m. on July 4, Dillingham Police received "multiple calls" reporting a "young male assaulting an elderly male" aboard the fishing vessel Clara Joan II, with the shirtless young man also hollering and punching out a boat window. Warren John Jimmy, 23, from Cherfornak, was arrested on assault and criminal mischief charges, and had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .236 percent.

Earlier the same day, Dillingham Police arrested Tehya Leilani Kohler for driving under the influence, after they found her in the driver seat of a vehicle that had crashed in a ditch on Waskey Road before 9 a.m. Kohler claims another person was driving, but there were no footprints leaving the scene. Kohler's BAC was .285, more than three and a half times over the legal limit to drive.

Also through the July 4 evening hours, DPD reports the ambulance was called out four times, and three people complained about fireworks, most of them claiming there was nearby gunfire.

Troopers arrested Geoffrey John Tugatuk, 26, in Manokotak on July 2. He was charged with four counts of domestic violence assault and a count each of reckless endangerment and criminal mischief. His girlfriend reported the night before that Tugatuk was highly intoxicated and brutally assaulted her, including biting her and dragging her by her hair. She was able to get away to a safe place for the night. Troopers arrived the next day, finding the victim's house ransacked, with furniture and dishes destroyed, and blood spattered across different areas of the house. The victim had numerous bite marks and was taken to the Kanakanak Hospital in Dillingham. A five-year-old also suffered a wound near her eye.

On July 1 in Togiak, the trooper there was notified that Michael Poulsen, 24, had also ransacked a house. His sister reported that he was drunk and had punched in a 46" flat screen TV, smashed out two living room windows, broke out two windows in a Jeep Grand Cherokee, broke a dining room chair and table, and otherwise made a mess of the house. Poulsen's sister tried to use a taser to end his rampage, but told troopers it didn't work and instead that prompted him to start throwing rocks at her. Poulsen disappeared from the scene but came back around 10 a.m. and passed out in the house. A trooper arrived, and wrote in his affidavit that Poulsen "freely made the statement that he did not remember anything that had taken place and that alcohol and village life don't mix."

The trooper in Togiak the same day investigated a domestic violence situation on Bay View Heights Road that had left another woman injured and TV broken. Eric Stewart, 29, was determined to be the "primary physical aggressor" and arrested on domestic violence assault and criminal mischief.

On June 30, in Dillingham, two impaired drivers caught the attention of police and the public. In the morning, a woman believed to have been overdosing on heroin drove a truck dangerously through downtown, slamming into a parked truck near the library. She was given a dose of Narcan at the scene, which revived her. Troopers say the truck was driven at a speed high enough that the impact moved the parked truck some 15 feet, and even moved the container van behind that several inches. Police are waiting on blood samples to determine if a criminal charge for DUI is warranted.

Later that same day, 26-year-old Kyle Leveque was arrested for DUI after a citizen called in seeing a car he was allegedly driving go off the roadway twice and swerve multiple times over the white line. An officer contacted Leveque as he was exiting the vehicle. Leveque admitted to drinking alcohol then driving from HUD to his home. Police say he failed field sobriety tests and had a BAC of .195 percent.

Reach the author at dave@kdlg.org or 907-842-5281.