JUNEAU, Alaska (AP)- Victor Kohring, a former Wasilla, Alaska lawmaker, died in the Glenn Highway crash on Tuesday. He was caught up in a corruption scandal that exasperated the state Legislature over 15 years ago. Read on to know what happened to Vic Kohring.
Kohring was driving a Toyota minivan just north of Palmer around 5 PM on Tuesday, September 6, 2022. He abruptly crossed the center line of the Glenn Highway for unknown reasons and collided head-on with a truck at a high speed.
Troopers and first responders attended to him but he was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the truck was not injured in the accident as confirmed by Austin McDaniel, a spokesperson for the troopers.
Vic Kohring’s body has been sent for autopsy to the State Medical Examiner’s Office. Troopers didn’t reveal more details about the circumstances surrounding the tragic crash.
Who was Vic Kohring?
Vic Kohring, 64, was a former Mat-Su legislator who served in the Alaska House of Representatives from 1995 to his resignation in 2007. He was campaigned as a conservative and chaired a powerful oil and gas committee. He lived in Wasilla.
Kohring was among the six legislators charged and convicted in the corruption scandal that led to FBI raids on his office and others in 2006. He was caught on surveillance video in a Juneau hotel suite accepting cash and agreeing to push a tax proposal favored by VECO, an oilfield services company.
On the tapes, Kohring was heard asking VECO founder Bill Allen for help with a $17,000 credit card bill. The videos also revealed Allen handing him cash for several things including his daughter’s Girl Scout uniform.
A jury convicted him in November 2007 of extortion, bribery, and conspiracy. A federal judge sentenced him to three and a half years in prison. Kohring appealed and got a new trial when the Justice Department admitted to withholding information from Kohring’s defense.
In 2011, Kohring pleaded guilty to a single federal felony instead of going through a new trial on three felonies. He admitted accepting bribes and was sentenced to the time he had served in federal prison- one year and eighteen months probation.
Vic Kohring Tried Returning to Public Office after his Release
After Kohring’s probation ended in 2013, he immediately registered to vote again. He also tried to return to the public office by filing to run for a three-year term on the Wasilla City Council. However, Brandon Wall defeated him.
On his personal website, he said that he “was the target of unscrupulous prosecutors from the so-called U.S. ‘Justice’ Department who were determined to convict a conservative lawmaker and long-time chairman of the Alaska Legislature’s Oil & Gas Committee, regardless of the facts or evidence.”
Kohring remained proud of his reputation as a small-government, low-tax conservating who Mat-Su voters elected seven times to the Alaska House. He also published a series of columns about his case and political views.
The troopers’ Bureau of High Patrol is investigating the collision alongside the Alaska police. The autopsy reports are awaited. We’ll keep you updated with further developments.