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Police Send Ballyhoo Crash Case To State District Attorney For Consideration Of Charges

Berett Wilber/KUCB

Unalaska police have asked the state to consider filing criminal charges against the teenager who was behind the wheel in May's fatal car crash off Mount Ballyhoo, following an inquiry supported by the Federal Bureau of Investigation

In a statement released Tuesday morning, city officials said the Department of Public Safety has begun "transmitting investigative case information to the State of Alaska's District Attorney's office in Anchorage, seeking consideration of criminal charges against Dustin S. Ruckman."

Ruckman suffered minor injuries in the crash that killed Karly McDonald, 16, and Kiara Renteria Haist, 18.

McDonald and Renteria Haist died after Ruckman's truck drove off the Ulakta Head cliff side and plunged 900 feet down the mountain. Police said Ruckman "claimed to have been thrown from the vehicle as it descended down a steep ravine with the two girls still inside."

In June, Ruckman declined KUCB's request for comment through his lawyer, David Mallet.

"The district attorney assigned to this case will be tasked with reviewing the investigative information and determining what, if any, criminal charges may be appropriate," said the city statement.

City officials said there's no timeline for the district attorney's review, though the "agency has been in close contact with the [Public Safety] Department and has assured their commitment to managing this matter as a top priority amongst their other caseload."

Meanwhile, the department is continuing to "finalize its investigation, process evidence, and collect reports and supplemental materials from the many other agencies that have assisted with the investigation."

This is a developing story.

Laura Kraegel reported for KUCB from 2016 until 2020. She was KUCB's news director starting in 2019. We are proud to have her back in the spring of 2023 filling in as an interim reporter for KUCB.
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