An Anchorage woman is charged with homicide for a crash that killed a 4-year-old girl who was riding a bicycle on May 19 through a trailer park near Dimond Boulevard.
On a sunny Friday afternoon, Ashley Xiong was struck by a Toyota sports utility vehicle driven by 46-year-old Her Yang Thao, who was turning a corner at the intersection of Garnett Street and Turquoise Street.
While the girl was not wearing a helmet, police argue in charging documents that that it "would not have mattered."
When interviewed by Anchorage Police Department officers shortly after the incident, with the help of translation by her daughter, police report Thao claimed she was "unsure" if she was talking on her cellphone at the time of the collision but that she insisted she was driving the required 15 miles per hour.
Thao conceded that she was talking on the phone to an out-of-state relative when she left her son's trailer, according to documents.
Witnesses tell another story.
Wendy Perkins, a resident who saw what happened, told police that she saw Thao driving "above the speed limit" and that she continued driving approximately 50 feet after she hit the girl.
Dennis Shanagin, who was in a yard nearby the scene of the crash, told investigators that he witnessed the crash and that he had to chase the SUV in an effort to get Thao to stop.
Cellphone records also indicate that Thao was on the phone at 6:16 p.m., after the first witness called 911. She also made two outgoing calls moments after the crash.
A grand jury indicted Thao on a count of criminally negligent homicide, a felony punishable by two to four years in prison.