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Family remembers woman killed in Anchorage hit-and-run collision

Ida Jackson, right, was killed in a hit-and-run collision on Elmore Road in Anchorage on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017. Pictured with her is her sister-in-law, Yvonne Jackson. (Courtesy Yvonne Jackson)

Family members on Sunday identified the woman killed in a Saturday morning hit-and-run crash in Anchorage as 40-year-old Ida Bell Jackson.

Police said that Jackson was walking on Elmore Road around 5:30 a.m. Saturday when she was hit by a car traveling southbound that then fled the scene. A witness, who hasn't been identified by police, called 911.

Later that day, Brian Walter, 30, turned himself in to police and was charged with failure to render aid.

Anchorage Police Department Sgt. Todd Kearns said he did not have additional details Sunday about how the collision happened. Police have not said why they believe Jackson was walking on the road early in the morning.

On Sunday, members of Jackson's family said they were still absorbing the impact of her sudden death.

Jackson was born into a large Hooper Bay family, said her sister-in-law and former roommate Yvonne Jackson in a phone interview from Bethel Saturday. She had seven brothers and six sisters.

She married young and began a family in Kasigluk with her husband, living a subsistence lifestyle.

Throughout her life, she struggled with alcoholism, family members said.

Her young family suffered a life-altering tragedy in 1997, when their infant daughter died while sleeping in bed with both parents. According to news reports from the time, police believed the baby accidentally suffocated and said both parents had been drinking when it happened.

The event led Jackson to eventually lose custody of her eight other children.

"It was really hard," said Yvonne Jackson. "The kids went into foster care."

Around that time, Ida Jackson sought treatment for her alcoholism, her sister-in-law said.

She eventually moved to Anchorage. During the summer, she'd work at a fish processing plant in Platinum, southwest of Bethel.

"She always made sure she was part of her kids' lives," Yvonne Jackson said.

In recent years, Jackson lived in Anchorage with her sister-in-law and then a boyfriend, and worked for a time at a hotel.

"We did everything together," Yvonne Jackson said. "She was my best friend."

Ida Jackson's daughter Shawna Williard-Burke, 21, said that while she wasn't raised by Jackson, her mother was a powerful presence in the lives of her eight surviving children. (Williard-Burke is the adopted daughter of Alaska Dispatch News columnist Jill Burke.)

"She did not raise me, but I called her mom," she said. "She'd always say, 'my bunnik,' my daughter."

Jackson came to birthday parties, holidays and graduations and took a ferocious pride in her children's accomplishments, Williard-Burke said.

"She was an alcoholic, but she was so much more than that," said Williard-Burke, who is studying for a cosmetology license. "She was a loving, caring, strong mother."

The family is waiting to find out more about what happened, and is planning to bury Jackson in her home village of Hooper Bay.

"She is not just another hit-and-run victim," Williard-Burke said. "She is missed so much already."

Correction: A photo caption in this article has been edited to reflect that Ida Bell Jackson died in 2017, not 2016,