780 AM | 96.1 FM | “Yours for Western Alaska”

Nome Woman Charged with Manslaughter Posts $25k Bail

Adrienne Michels (right) at her arraignment on April 15, 2014. Photo: Matthew F. Smith, KNOM.

A Nome woman charged with manslaughter in an April hit-and-run car collision has been released on bail.

Adrienne Michels, 30, was released on bail Wednesday May 14 on charges related to the April death of Savoonga artist and firefighter Wagner “Repa” Wongittilin.

Twice in April judges rejected requests by Michels’ attorney to lower bail from the original $50,000 offered at the time of her arrest. At a formal bail hearing last week, Michels’ attorney said bail was officially set at $25,000, which was posted that day.

Upon her release, Michels was released into the custody of two court-approved third-party custodians. The date of her bail happened to coincide with Michels’ 30th birthday.

Photo of Wagner Wongittilin courtesy of Melanie Bahnke via KTUU

Photo of Wagner Wongittilin. Photo: Melanie Bahnke via KTUU

According to court records Wongittilin was walking with his son and nephew along 5th Avenue and Bering Street in Nome around 1 a.m. on April 12 when police say he was hit by a Ford Explorer SUV driven by Michels. A police affidavit used in court said Michels initially left the scene of the crash but returned a short time later with her father.

She told officers she “did not see Wongitillin in the roadway” before hitting him. Michels failed several field sobriety tests and eventually was found to have a blood alcohol content of .227, more than two and a half times the legal limit.

Court records report a cab driver who witnessed the incident saw Wongitillin “jump in front of the SUV with both hands above his head, as if to warn (the driver) of the pedestrians walking in the area.”

In addition to facing initial charges of manslaughter, driving under the influence, and leaving the scene of an accident, Michels was indicted by a grand jury in mid-April on an additional felony charge of leaving the scene of an accident while failing to help the injured.

Michels has her next hearing in Superior Court July 16.


  1. Sandy Huss, Kotzebue on May 19, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    A sad

    A sad story but very professionally reported by KNOM.

  2. Helen on May 19, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    Driving while intoxicated!!!! Theres no excuse for that! A person gone from this earth all because of stupid decision to drive while drunk!!!!!

  3. Melanie Bahnke on May 19, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    Thank you for including the photo of Wagner in this article.

  4. Bessie Meyer on May 19, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    Three DUI’s without any accident or harm to anyone is considered a felony and can get minimum three years in jail, alcohol classes, etc. If a person actually killed someone on a first DUI, it should be a automatic sentence just as if that person has three dui’s and maybe even the max for three DUI’s.
    No less.

  5. Dawn on May 20, 2014 at 7:12 am

    Bailed out?! Someone is dead and she gets to go free for awhile! Hope not for to long!

  6. dsherman2007 on May 20, 2014 at 9:12 am

    I am Sad for the Family of this Man and Disgusted with the Law and even allowing a person who is arrested for Drunk Driving a Second or Third chance!! I believe that if you are stupid enough to get behind the wheel of a car and drive after drinking and Kill someone then you deserve to go to prison for the rest of your life.A Life for A Life just that plain and Simple – she Killed this man and there is No Accident involved in this case!! People have to take responsibility for their Actions.My Deepest Sympathy goes out to Wagner “Repa” Wongittilin family. This Women should of never even got the chance of Bail!!

  7. Lawrence Kulukhon on May 20, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    What is wrong with our legal system? A man gets killed and the person who killed him gets a bail reduction. This goes to show the public how messed up the legal system is. I personally dont like our so called legal system, the judges are crooked, the attorneys are crooked and the public defenders are crooked. The only time they do anything right is when alot of money is going to be spent.

  8. Linda J Akeya on May 21, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    All I can say to this is that it is true that she should of got life for manslaughter, I hurt so much for his 2 children here at Savoonga having to lose their father and this way, there is definitely something wrong with the legal system,even our government, but look at it this way Adrianne will be judged by the almighty God himself, and all the people who have gotten away with the things they have done. I used to sing a song to him every time I saw him, he was my first cousin, rest in peace brother until we meet again.