Wednesday, September 12, 2012

It's done.

— A young man accused of racing another driver on state Route 52, which led to a crash that killed two East County teens and injured others, pleaded guilty today to a felony charge.
Michael S. Johnson, 18, admitted he engaged in a speed contest last April and will likely be placed on probation at a sentencing hearing next month.
Under the conditions of probation, he will have to serve 180 days in county jail and complete 30 days of volunteer work with Mothers Against Drunk Driving or a similar organization.
If he violates any of those terms, he could be sent to prison.
San Diego Superior Court Judge Eugenia Eyherabide accepted Johnson’s plea and scheduled a status conference for Sept. 21, when Johnson is expected to be taken into custody. Until then, he remains free on bail.
Johnson was one of two teenagers charged in connection with the crash that killed Anthony Foreman, 18, a graduate of El Capitan High School in Lakeside, and Jayli Campbell, 16, a student at Santana High School in Santee.
Johnson was among a group of teens who were returning home after a bonfire party at La Jolla Shores the night of April 4, when the crash occurred. Prosecutors said Johnson, who was driving a Volvo S40, and the driver of a Volkswagen Passat were racing at speeds exceeding 100 mph when the 16-year-old driver of the Volkswagen lost control.
The vehicle flipped several times before coming to rest.
The 16-year-old, who is not being identified because he was charged as a minor, pleaded guilty in Juvenile Court to gross vehicular manslaughter. He was placed on probation in July and ordered to spend up to a year in a youth camp.
Outside the courtroom, Deputy District Attorney Kristen Spieler said she hopes the case will send a message to people — particularly young drivers — that they can be held responsible if their actions contributed to the deaths or injuries of others. That’s true, she said, even if the accused wasn’t behind the wheel of a car that crashed.
As a result of Johnson’s plea, other charges filed against him, including vehicular manslaughter, were dropped.
Johnson’s lawyer, Russell Babcock, said outside the courtroom that his client chose to accept responsibility for participating in a speed contest and wants to begin serving his time in jail before his official sentencing date.
“We’re very saddened by the pain that the families feel and the losses that they’ve experienced,” Babcock said.
Parents of the teens who were killed were in the courtroom today. Mark Foreman, Anthony’s father, told reporters that the plea allows the families and the community to move forward.
At this point, he said, it’s difficult to determine whether the case resolved fairly. He said he may look back three years from now, when and if Johnson’s probation is done, and feel that justice was served.
“I don’t think (the word) ‘fair’ plays into this,” Foreman said. “He’s got challenges ahead and I recognize those challenges and they are strong.”
Johnson’s sentencing hearing is set for Oct. 10.

1 comment:

That corgi :) said...

I am glad he took responsibility as did the other juvenile. All their lives will never be the same again and they will carry this with them "forever" but taking responsibility for their actions is the right and honorable thing to do (but a hard thing too because I know how it is to be on probation and under the jurisdication of the law - from some troubles son got into in his past). I hope all (including you/daughter) can have a bit of closure and continue to move on and hopefully heal the best you all can.