Police impound car possibly involved in parking lot hit-and-run

Michelle Theriault Boots
Photo courtesy Maria Philemonoff

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Anchorage police have impounded an abandoned vehicle that they suspect may have been the one that ran over a couple walking through a Midtown parking lot early Saturday, spokeswoman Dani Myren said Monday.

April Merculief and Nicholas Philemonoff, both 34, were seriously injured. Merculief remains in critical condition at Alaska Native Medical Center. Philemonoff was discharged Monday after getting surgery on a broken leg.

More analysis must be done to confirm that's the correct vehicle, Myren said. She didn't know where or when it was found or what kind of vehicle it was. Philemonoff described it as a red sedan.


A woman was in critical condition and her boyfriend also hospitalized after a man deliberately ran them over with his car in a Midtown Anchorage parking lot early Saturday morning, police and the couple's family said Sunday.

Anchorage police said April Merculief and her boyfriend, Nicholas Philemonoff, both 34, were walking eastbound in a parking lot at 549 West International Airport Road at around 4:40 a.m. when a car described as a newer red sedan pulled into the parking lot.

Two men inside yelled a sexual remark at Merculief, said Nicholas Philemonoff's sister, Maria Philemonoff.

The men got out of the car and exchanged profanities with the couple, police said. Then they jumped back in the car and ran the couple down, police said.

Merculief was dragged underneath the car, which then sped away.

Philemonoff was hit in his leg, which is broken in several places, his sister said. He immediately called 911, she said.

Merculief, who has three children with Philemonoff, has a severe head injury, a punctured lung, a broken neck and shattered hips, nose and jaw, according to family. Her scalp was partly "ripped off her head," according to Philemonoff.

Both are at the Alaska Native Medical Center.

Merculief has undergone surgeries to remove blood clots from her brain and was in critical condition on Sunday night, according to family.

There's no indication that the couple and the people in the car knew each other, according to APD spokeswoman Dani Myren.

Police have described the suspect as a black male, about 5'7 and 30 years old with short buzz-cut hair.

The couple was walking from Piper's Restaurant at the Coast International Inn near Lake Spenard to their home near Lake Otis Parkway, said Maria Philemonoff. Their three daughters, ages three, five and seven, were with grandparents, she said.

They had moved from the Bering Sea Island of St. Paul to Anchorage this past winter because of a family illness, Philemonoff said. Their children are staying with her for now.

The family relies on commercial fishing income from Nicholas, his sister said. The season starts in a few weeks and it looks unlikely that he will be able to fish.

Philemonoff was able to see Merculief in the hospital for the first time Saturday night.

"He wants this guy caught and in prison," she said. "To him this is attempted murder."

Police have asked anyone with information about the incident to call the APD at 786-8900.