A man charged with manslaughter after his fiance died falling out of the truck he was driving has been released from jail after posting bail.
William Miller, 27, was charged with manslaughter and a DUI after he allegedly ran over his fiance as they were on their way to pick up their son.
Miller will now be allowed to work on a commercial salmon boat owned by a family friend and be required to live under 24-hour house arrest when not working on the boat.
At a bail hearing on June 4, the judge approved a request to amend the bail amount from a $50,000 cash performance bond to a $15,000 cash appearance bond and $35,000 unsecured appearance bond.
Miller’s lawyer, Darryl Thompson, said Miller’s family could only gather $15,000 cash to post bail.
“We are asking that the court give consideration to inability to pay and this is a significant amount of cash,” Thompson said at the hearing.
The judge reasoned that while the Fehrs family did not want Mr. Miller released, under the Alaska constitution, “parties have the right to reasonable bail.”
If Miller were to break his release conditions, he would forfeit the $15,000 bond, and if he were to miss a court appearance, he would be required to repay the $35,000 unsecured appearance bond.
The commercial fishing boat Miller can work on will be in operation from June to October, and will return to port at various times throughout the season, the owner of the vessel said at the bail hearing.
The owner said his vessel is run as a family business with no alcohol allowed on board.
Miller will be monitored by the Alaska Pretrial Services electronic monitoring program with active GPS monitoring.
According to Dennis Johnson, APS program director, if Miller is in an area that has no cellular coverage, the device will store the location points for 26 days and upload the information when the boat enters an area with coverage.
Miller was charged after an incident that occurred on May 13, when his fiance, Laura Fehrs, fell out of a moving truck operated by Miller, who reportedly seemed to be under the influence of alcohol and allegedly ran over her after she fell, according to court documents.
Fehrs sustained damage to her head and torso, and was unconscious when Alaska State Troopers arrived at the scene of the incident on West Rezanof Drive and Tom Stiles Road.
The documents said she was transported to Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center by medics and then medevaced to Anchorage where she was listed in critical condition.
Miller reportedly told troopers that he and Fehrs had left the Rendezvous Bar after having a couple of drinks.
The trooper who spoke to Miller at the scene reportedly smelled alcohol on Miller’s breath and noticed that his eyes were bloodshot and watery, and that his speech was slurred.
During the trooper’s conversation with Miller, the suspect fell to the ground twice, said the documents.
Kodiak District Attorney Gustaf Olson said at the hearing that witnesses in cars both in front and behind Millers’ car saw a struggle in the car, allegedly leading to Fehrs opening and closing the door several times before “exiting the vehicle.”
At a previous bail hearing on May 28, Laura Fehrs’ sister, Maggie Fehrs, spoke against allowing Miller to get out of jail.
“My sister passed away this morning as a result of something that William has done and the fact that anyone is considering letting him out of jail at this point is devastating to my family on top of everything,” she said. “The bottom line is that he took her from us.”
A preliminary trial hearing has been scheduled for Aug. 4.