Police now seek red SUV in hit-and-run that injured couple

Photo courtesy Maria Philemonoff

Anchorage police on Monday issued a new description of the vehicle they say ran down an Anchorage couple in a Midtown parking lot last weekend. Police now say they're looking for a red sport utility vehicle, not a red sedan, in the hit-and-run along International Airport Road early the morning on June 1.

A woman was badly injured and her boyfriend also hospitalized with less serious injuries in the incident.

Nicholas Philemonoff says he and his girlfriend, April Merculief were walking home after having drinks at Piper's Restaurant & Lounge in Spenard when they were run over by a stranger.

It was about 4:40 a.m. when a vehicle pulled into the lot of Hope Community Resources, between 524 and 540 W. International Airport Road, Philemonoff said.

Police originally reported it as being on the other side of the road.

Two men got out of the vehicle and made a comment about Merculief, he said. When he responded, they got back in the car and ran the couple down, police said.

Merculief was pulled under the car and suffered injuries to much of her body, including a crushed pelvis and head trauma, Philemonoff said. She is now conscious and responding to questions from doctors.

"She's shaking her head yes or no," he said.

Merculief still in the critical care unit at Alaska Native Medical Center, he said.

Police spokeswoman Jennifer Castro said Monday that review of surveillance video showed the vehicle "appears to be a red mid-size SUV."

Castro would not say where the surveillance video came from or when it was given to police.

Police are not releasing images of the vehicle, Castro said,

"In this case surveillance video is central to the ongoing investigation," she said. "Releasing the imagery could compromise the investigation." The driver has been described as a black man around 30 years old, about 5-foot-7, with a buzzcut, police said.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 786-8900 or Crime Stoppers at 561-STOP.

Anchorage Daily News / adn.com