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Driver in SR-52 Racing Crash Pleads Guilty, Will be Sentenced to 180 Days

The Santana High School graduate pleaded guilty on the day his case was to go to trial.

An 18-year-old motorist who raced another teenage driver on state Route 52, resulting in a , pleaded guilty Tuesday to a felony charge of engaging in a speed contest and will be sentenced to 180 days in jail.

Michael S. Johnson will be formally sentenced Oct. 10, but will likely begin serving his time in custody on Sept. 21, said his attorney, Russell Babcock.

"He wants to get this matter behind him; he wants to go on with his life," Babcock said outside court. "It's been a tragic set of circumstances for everyone."

Johnson, a graduate of , pleaded guilty on the day his case was to go to trial. He will be placed on three years probation, to include random drug testing and volunteer work with Mothers Against Drunk Driving or some other program that focuses on driving-related crimes.

The 16-year-old driver who Johnson was racing was . He to gross vehicular manslaughter resulting in death and was to a year in custody at a Juvenile facility in Campo.

Authorities said the two motorists were racing at speeds up to 100 mph on eastbound state Route 52 about 11:45 p.m. last April 4 when the younger driver lost control of his Volkswagen Passat and crashed, killing 16-year-old Jayli Campbell and 18-year-old Anthony Foreman.

The boy's 15-year-old girlfriend, who was a passenger in the Passat, suffered a serious brain injury and spent five days in a coma, but survived. Another passenger was seriously injured. The two carloads of tens were heading home from a bonfire at La Jolla Shores.

Foreman's father said today's plea from Johnson is an opportunity for the families of the victims to move forward with their lives and allow them to heal.

"Justice is going to play out," Mark Foreman said. "He (Johnson) has decisions to make in his world, including serving 180 days as the judge stated, and then fulfilling his probation obligations. He's got challenges and I recognize those challenges. They're strong. It's up to him to do it."     

Johnson faces a maximum of three years in state prison should he violate probation, said Deputy District Attorney Kristen Spieler.

"I just hope that this case does send a message -- a clear message to people, particularly young people -- that even if you are not driving the car that crashes, if you or your driving contributed to that collision ... you share responsibilities for the injuries that occur," Spieler said.

-City News Service

Read previous stories about this tragic crash

Patrick September 13, 2012 at 04:45 PM
I'm sorry if this offends anyone. Johnson "just wants to get on with his life" .... yes, he has a lot to live with. However, I feel his sentence was too light. I blame the lawyers and judges, they are too mellow, its obviously an election year for some so, hey let's play politics. This kid should have gotten a minimum of 18 months on each account of murder and also for the others injured in the car! I know this seems harsh, but the kid was caught speeding less than a month prior and the courts let him off without any consequences. Now he murders 2, and injures others due to his careless, selfish, brass attitude. I'm very sorry for the families who lost loved ones and the other kids who have lost a lot more than 18 months of their life in jail. Michael, you have so much to make up for during the remainder of your years, I hope you use them wisely and gain forgiveness of those you have hurt.
S Radzikowski September 13, 2012 at 07:44 PM
DEPUTY DA SPIELER stated in follow-up to the sentencing of Michael S. Johnson to 180 days in jail for his guilty plea in the SR-52 Racing Crash: "I just hope that this case does send a message -- a clear message to people, particularly young people -- that even if you are not driving the car that crashes, if you or your driving contributed to that collision ... you share responsibilities for the injuries that occur." WHAT IS SHE SMOKING?!! Isn't this the same quote that DDA Spieler used in the last vehicular crash news? Will it serve as a deterrent? The answer is unequivocally: "NO! This case will NOT send a message to YOUNG PEOPLE - because 99.9999% of them will NEVER hear or read the message - (unless the DDA text-messages it to them!!) (how many drivers are really pulled over and cited for using their cell phones while driving - where's that statistic folks!!?). Or if they do read or hear it - the message will be automatically removed from their RANDOM ACCESS MEMORIES faster than OBAMA can forget another group of people who no longer contribute to his narcissism. How to get the message across so it sticks? Frankly, short of performing public bare-butt prison-strap spankings in the central square, televised to all classrooms, I doubt the message will ever be actually conveyed and act as a deterrent. Have you been to Singapore (remember the caning of Michael Fey)? Compare youthful infractions there versus here. The clock ticks.....
Tammy September 22, 2012 at 06:13 AM
This sentence is for the other driver, not the one that was driving the car that crashed. However, it is still a light sentence. Talk about getting on with one's life seems wrong when you have two boys who won't be able to do that.

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