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Cordova 19-year-old charged with DUI, manslaughter in crash that killed passenger

  • Author: Chris Klint
  • Updated: August 11, 2016
  • Published August 11, 2016

A driver faces manslaughter and DUI charges after a wreck Tuesday night in Cordova that fatally injured his passenger.

Court records show John David Stimson, 19, has been charged with manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and DUI as well as misconduct involving weapons.

Cordova Police Chief Mike Hicks said in an email that the victim in the crash, 18-year-old Enrique Zamudio, was a friend of Stimson's who had attended Cordova Jr./Sr. High School with him. The two were headed from a boat moored at Cordova's Small Boat Harbor to a public sauna at Shelter Cove.

According to a criminal complaint, Officer Nathanael Taylor found Stimson along First Street at about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday yelling for someone to help Zamudio, who was sitting unconscious in a wrecked blue Nissan pickup's passenger seat.

"(Taylor) observed a wooden utility pole had snapped off at its base and was lying on the ground near the truck," Cordova officer Zachary Johns wrote in the complaint. "It appeared that the truck had struck the utility pole with its right side and spun around, snapping the pole and destroying the truck."

Medics took Zamudio to the Cordova Community Medical Center, where he died.

Stimson allegedly told Taylor that he had been driving too fast — an observation Hicks said was corroborated by investigators.

"We don't know exactly how fast Stimson was driving at the time of the crash but evidence at the scene suggests that it was well above the posted 30 mph speed," Hicks wrote.

Upon questioning at police headquarters, Stimson told officers he drank three beers that evening, Johns said. A breath sample from Stimson taken just after 1 a.m. Wednesday yielded an alcohol content of .105, over Alaska's legal limit for driving of .08.

Stimson was initially arrested on suspicion of DUI and held at the Cordova Jail. The weapons-misconduct charge, for allegedly driving drunk with a firearm in the vehicle, was added after investigators found a .357 revolver in the truck.

Stimson made an initial court appearance in the case Wednesday, court records indicate, with a bail hearing scheduled for Friday.

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