A Kodiak resident died in a hit-and-run during this weekend’s tsunami warning and evacuation.
Kodiak police have identified the pedestrian who died Saturday night as 45-year-old Vanessa Jean Amox. Friends on Facebook identified the victim of the hit-and-run by the name Vanessa Malutin-McCormick. She was hit by a truck within a half hour of the sirens going off between the 200 and 300 blocks on Rezanof Drive and Mill Bay Road.
Police solicited the public’s help to find the suspect that night. Lt. Francis de la Fuente is a public information officer for the Kodiak Police Department. He said witness accounts and private security cameras helped their search.
“We’ve located the truck, our patrol division and detective was able to piece together the parts and was able to track the vehicle that same night,” de la Fuente said. “We were able to communicate and make the interview already.”
De la Fuente thanked the public for their help so far. He said the investigation is ongoing and no one has yet been charged.
De la Fuente said traffic was heavier than during previous emergency warnings, partly because more people were downtown.
“We had a lot of people walking, going up to the high school from downtown, and it was a Saturday,” he said. “We have apartment complexes from the canneries and businesses downtown that we needed to evacuate.”
He said one big systemic difference this time was the text notifications from the National Weather Service that buzzed residents’ phones before the sirens went off.
“The biggest difference for me personally was the notification from the state,” said de la Fuente. “When our phones have that obnoxious beep that everybody hears to wake you up that there is a tsunami then we followed up with the tsunami siren.”
The department recommends residents maintain emergency preparation kits to include two weeks worth of supplies like clothes, water and food to prepare for future tsunamis.
Since Saturday, some people have left flowers near the accident site. A GoFundMe was also shared on social media to help the victim’s family cover funeral expenses.