A roadside sign welcomes drivers to Nikiski, Alaska, on Jan. 7, 2019. (Clarion file)

A roadside sign welcomes drivers to Nikiski, Alaska, on Jan. 7, 2019. (Clarion file)

Nikiski man arrested in connection to Saturday power outage

The outage affected about 35 residents around Emerald Street

A Nikiski man was arrested Saturday in connection with an alleged assault that caused a power outage for about 35 residents around Emerald Street.

John Peter Hyink Covich, 41, of Nikiski, is facing six charges in connection to the incident including four charges of assault in the third degree, one charge of criminal mischief in the third degree and one charge of assault in the fourth degree.

Alaska State Troopers Investigator Edwin Anderson wrote in an Aug. 5 affidavit accompanying the charging documents that troopers first received a call on Saturday around 3:30 a.m. from a woman who reported that Covich had rammed her boyfriend’s vehicle while she and her boyfriend were still inside of it.

The woman, Anderson wrote, reported that she had previously been riding with Covich when she got out of the vehicle to meet her boyfriend. As she and her boyfriend were leaving, Covich rammed his car into her boyfriend’s car hard enough to send the boyfriend’s car into a Homer Electric Association powerline pole, Anderson said.

Her boyfriend then got out of the car, fearing Covich would run over him or ram his car again, retrieved a handgun and fired it multiple times at Covich’s vehicle, Anderson said.

Anderson said troopers located and interviewed Covich at his parent’s house at around 11 a.m. on the same day, which was less than one mile from the scene of the incident. Covich, Anderson said, told troopers that the altercation started when his own vehicle sustained damage by the woman who would later call troopers, who he said was beating his SUV with a flashlight.

Troopers said Covich admitted to intentionally ramming his truck into the boyfriend’s truck, but denied trying to hurt or kill either of the other people involved. Because of the relationship between the three parties, Anderson wrote that the alleged crimes are those of domestic violence.

Homer Electric Association wrote in a post shared to social media Saturday that it was “aware of a criminal incident” involving vehicles that had damaged HEA facilities in Nikiski. The post says HEA was cooperating with state and local law enforcement in their investigation and that HEA crew were standing by to respond as soon as the crime scene was cleared.

“We ask that you avoid the area to allow police to conclude their investigation and HEA crews to repair and restore power without interruption,” the HEA post says. “We appreciate your patience and thank law enforcement for their professionalism.”

Alaska Statute says that a person commits the crime of assault in the third degree if that person recklessly puts another person in fear of imminent serious physical injury by means of a dangerous instrument or causes physical injury to another person by means of a dangerous instrument. Assault in the third degree is a class C felony.

A person commits the crime of assault in the fourth degree, a class A misdemeanor, if that person recklessly causes physical injury to another person. A person commits the crime of criminal mischief in the third degree, a class C felony, if that person intends to and causes damage to the property of another person in the amount of $750 or more.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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