Motorist Charged with Vehicular Homicide in Death of Kennewick Woman
Benton County prosecutors have filed the charges in connection with the incident that possibly involved street racing.
46-year-old Michael S. Johnson was headed Eastbound on 27th Ave. in Kennewick April 8th. when he struck 52-year-old Nina Howard as she was attempting to cross the street. She was reportedly heading to the LAO Buddhist Temple when she was hit.
Witnesses and reports indicate she crossed the street, then appeared to be running to try to get out of the way. Johnson, driving his 1966 Chevrolet Nova, initially said he was traveling between 35 and 40 mph, but a police investigation showed he was driving much faster, based upon skid marks after the collision.
Witnesses said the car Johnson was driving slid across 27th after hitting Howard, coming to a stop sideways. Johnson later admitted he was driving beyond the speed limit, but the speedometer in his car was not working properly. Based upon the crash site and skid marks, police say he was driving 72 mph. and the crash would have been prevented if he'd not been speeding.
He was initially arrested after the incident on an investigative hold, then released pending the outcome of the investigation. Some reports indicate he was street racing with his son, as the two were coming back from picking up Johnson's car from a body shop.
Johnson is due in court June 5th. to enter a plea to the charges.