Former Wasilla lawmaker Vic Kohring dies in Glenn Highway crash

a man in a coat
Alaska Rep. Vic Kohring, R-Wasilla, is led into the Federal Court Room for arraignment in Juneau on May 4, 2007. (Chris Miller/AP)

Vic Kohring, a former Alaska lawmaker who was caught up in a corruption scandal that roiled the state Legislature more than 15 years ago, died on Tuesday in a vehicle crash.

Alaska State Troopers say the 64-year-old Wasilla resident was driving a minivan that collided head-on with a semi-truck after crossing the center line of the Glenn Highway north of Palmer.

Kohring served in the state House from 1995 until he resigned in 2007. He was chair of a special oil and gas committee. He favored small government, opposed taxes and slept in his Juneau office to save money.

In 2006, he was caught on surveillance video in a Juneau hotel suite, accepting cash and agreeing to push a tax proposal favored by oilfield services company VECO.

On the tapes, Kohring can be heard asking VECO founder Bill Allen for help with a $17,000 credit card bill. The videos show Allen handing him cash for — among other things — his daughter’s Girl Scout uniform.

He was convicted in 2007 of charges including bribery and sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison. An appeals court later vacated the conviction and ordered a new trial, citing material withheld by the prosecution. In 2011, Kohring pleaded guilty as part of a plea agreement to a charge of conspiracy to commit bribery. He was sentenced to time previously served.

Kohring claimed he was the “target of unscrupulous prosecutors.”

Troopers say Kohring was traveling alone in the van Tuesday evening and say it’s unclear what caused him to cross the center line. The driver of the truck was not injured. Kohring was declared dead at the scene. An autopsy is expected.

Alaska Public Media’s Liz Ruskin contributed to this report.

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