ANCHORAGE (KTUU) — July 11 update:
An Anchorage grand jury returned an indictment against 39-year-old Brandon Cockburn Wednesday in connection to a June 20 hit-and-run that left the son of state senator Shelley Hughes (R – Palmer) in a wheelchair for the summer.
According to Anchorage Assistant District Attorney Kevin Bergt, Cockburn was indicted on three counts of assault and failure to render aid at the scene of an accident. He's scheduled to be arraigned in Superior Court at 10 a.m. Friday.
Alaska’s crime wave has hit a state lawmaker’s son after he was struck down last week in an alleged hit-and-run by a suspect with open felony charges, who is now free on bail again after his latest arrest.
Sen. Shelley Hughes (R – Palmer) took to Facebook Sunday to describe how her son, Tyler Hughes, was struck while riding his motorbike in downtown Anchorage by a van allegedly driven by Brandon Cockburn, 39.
Some people took to social media focusing on the legislator’s initial support of criminal justice reform legislation Senate Bill 91, which she has long described as a “mistake.”
The incident on June 20 left Tyler with a broken clavicle, scapula and multiple fractures and lacerations. Hughes says he will spend summer in a wheelchair.
Renee Oistad, a spokesperson with Anchorage Police Department, says Cockburn was arrested later that day as part of Operation Midnight Sun on charges of second-degree assault and leaving the scene of an injury crash.
He was also cited for driving without a license or insurance and failing to stop at a red light.
Hughes wrote about her frustration that Cockburn’s long rap sheet, including an April indictment on nine felony charges.
“The suspect’s 10-year record includes distribution of child pornography, possession of child pornography, DUI, property destruction, driving with a revoked license, no insurance,” wrote Hughes.
She also wrote about her frustration that Cockburn is again on the streets after being released Friday under Pretrial Enforcement Division supervision on a $2,500 unsecured performance bond. “I hope and pray this person doesn't harm anyone else,” wrote Hughes.
While sympathetic to Tyler Hughes’ injuries, some members of the public questioned her initial support of SB 91, and some asked what she was planning to do to repeal the bill.
Hughes responded to those comments saying she had been given “false information” about SB 91, including that Texas had implemented similar reforms first.
Some people also argued that the senator only cared about the impacts of SB 91 after it directly impacted her family.
Hughes rejected that assertion, noting that her positioned changed on the bill in early 2017, and that she has since been working to repeal and replace the controversial legislation.
“While some repairs were made this past year with the passage of House Bill 312, there remains a lot of work to do to correct the mistakes of Senate Bill 91 and I look forward to working with my colleagues to make that happen,” wrote Hughes.
Channel 2 reached out the Anchorage District Attorney’s office for a comment on the case but did not hear back at the time of publication.