Manslaughter Charges Dropped Against Michael Johnson
On October 12, 2012 , Michael Johnson was sentenced to 180 days custody for engaging in a speed contest on Highway 52 near the Convoy overpass With good time credits, he should spend approximately ninety days in custody. The juvenile driver who actually collided with the piling, killing two of his passengers and seriously injuring two others, had his case handled in juvenile court had his case handled in juvenile court and will spend a substantial period of time in custody.
Because a couple of witnesses believed that Michael and the other driver Zack, a minor, were engaged in a speed contest, Michael Johnson was originally charged with nine felonies including two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter that could have sent him to state prison for fifteen years.
As the investigation progressed, it became clear that Michael, who was driving a car that was not in the collision, stopped and attempted to render aid to his dying friends. He and many members of the community were shocked that instead of being praised for his assistance, he was charged with manslaughter. The government also wrongly assumed that Michael was under the influence of methamphetamine because his eyes were glassy. Michael in fact has had cataract surgery on his eyes, The drug use allegations were eventually dropped.
After months of negotiations, the prosecution agreed to drop the much more serious charges and allow Michael to plead to the two felonies that may be reducible to misdemeanors in three years at the discretion of the court. While our office was prepared to proceed to trial and felt very confident Michael would be found not guilty of all charges, Michael chose on his own to accept responsibility for his part in this incident and made a heart-felt public apology to the family members of the deceased who spoke eloquently in court and who appeared to have begun to heal from the horrific accident.
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