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Press Release

Pao Yang Sentenced for Fatal 2014 5th Avenue Crash

February 7, 2017

(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) On February 6, 2017, Superior Court Judge Jack Smith sentenced 23 year old Pao Yang to serve 30 months in prison for causing the death of Guy Merculief. Yang previously pled guilty to criminally negligent homicide in October 2016.

On Saturday, September 20, 2014, a fatal vehicle-pedestrian collision occurred on East 5th Avenue near the Holiday gas station. The pedestrian was identified as 54 year old Guy Merculief. Merculief was pronounced dead at the scene. The defendant stopped his vehicle to check on Merculief but then fled the scene. A passenger in the Vang’s vehicle was initially thought to be the driver but the subsequent investigation identified Vang as the driver.

At the sentencing hearing, Judge Smith heard from family members of Merculief. Judge Smith had the discretion to sentence Vang up to 10 years in prison. Judge Smith imposed a sentence of 66 months with 36 months suspended – 30 months to serve. He also placed Vang on probation for three years. Judge Smith explained that he found this crime to be among the most serious criminally negligent homicides included within the definition of the offense but also found that rehabilitation was a primary factor for the sentence because of Vang’s age.

CONTACT: Assistant District Attorney Javier Diaz at (907) 269-6300 or More information about the Anchorage District Attorney’s Office is available at

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