Santana Graduate Sentenced in Connection to Deadly SR-52 Racing Crash

Michael Johnson began serving his 180-day jail sentence last month for his part in the incident that resulted in the death of two Santee teens.

Updated October 10 @ 8 p.m.

A 19-year-old motorist who raced a younger driver on state Route 52, resulting in a crash that killed two Santee teens, was formally sentenced Wednesday to 180 days in county jail.

Michael S. Johnson, a graduate of Santana High School, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of engaging in a speed contest in connection with the April 4 crash that took the lives of 16- year-old Jayli Campbell and 18-year-old Anthony Foreman.

Johnson, who began serving his predetermined sentence last month, was also placed on three years probation to include random drug testing and volunteer work with Mothers Against Drunk Driving or another program that focuses on driving-related crimes.

The defendant is not eligible for early release from jail.

Theresa Campbell said her son loved life and would do anything for his family.

"No parent should ever have to bury their child," she told the defendant. "My son is gone because of your actions. My family and I will have to live without him for the rest of our lives."

The older victim's adoptive father, who is a retired police officer, told the defendant his crime "slammed my life to a halt."

"He (Anthony) died in a violent manner on a stretch of freeway," Mark Foreman told Johnson. "Nothing you do will bring Anthony back."

Foreman urged the defendant to make something of the rest of his life.

"The routes you choose are up to you," he told Johnson.

The defendant apologized to the victims' family members.

"I'm so sorry for your irreplaceable losses," he said. "I know I will never be the same after this."

Superior Court Judge Eugenia Eyherabide said she was moved by how the victims' families wished Johnson well despite their devastating loss.

The judge urged Johnson not to forget what happened, but also not to let it define him as a person.

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

Authorities said the the two motorists were racing at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour when the younger driver lost control of his car about 11:45 p.m., killing Campbell and Foreman.     

Two others were seriously injured. The two carloads of teens were heading home from a bonfire at La Jolla Shores.

-City News Service

Sandra October 10, 2012 at 05:53 PM
I feel this punishment is not just. These kids need a strong message sent, the people they killed will never get to have any of life's experiences . Our justice system truly needs reform .
Doug Curlee October 10, 2012 at 11:29 PM
well, sandra..wha,t in your mind, would be the right punishment?.. 25 to life?..horsewhipping?..capital punishment? these kids made a disastrous mistake, granted..but they ARE kids..they still have a life to live..i'm terribly sorrry about the kids who don't have a life to live..but the law is what it is.. how would you change it? doug
b1brandy October 11, 2012 at 05:07 AM
I think that 6 months is very generous. Not quite the punishment I was expecting. My son was friends with all these teenagers involved and he even said he thought the punishment should have been harsher. I know they are just kids but I really hope others learn from this tragic event and regardless of age remember that innocent people die when you drive recklessly / race. These boys wil be punished the rest of there lives by being haunted by the mistakes that they have made. Hopefully they can educate others.
Kathy October 11, 2012 at 06:23 AM
You might think differently if it was one of your Kids killed in this Irresponsible, Wreck Less, Danger to Society & to themselves, should of never happened, accident. This was simple a slap on the hand punishment. You state "they ARE kids..they still have a life to live", the two boys killed don't have a life to live, DO THEY? Just because their are a minor and young Adult doesn't mean they should go unpunished or such a light sentence. These Boys have learned NOTHING by this punishment and as sure as I am the sun will come up tomorrow, they will no doubt commit another Wreck Less act, like racing and under the influence. If they kill another Kid or Adult, would you then be convinced that they should do time in Prison? I believed and expected each of them to be sentenced to a minimum of 5 years in prison, permanently revoked Drivers License and 10 years of Probation. They should NEVER be allowed to be behind the wheel of a vehicle again. Sorry, I DISAGREE with you on this one Doug, I place a higher value of life and DO NOT believe anyone has the right to take another life, when it could of easily been avoidable. When those Boys decided to illegally Race, they turned into Criminals and Murders.
DL Kester October 11, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Kathy~ What actual good would it do to permanantly revoking the drivers license of these young people? It would only help to ensure them of never being able to be a productive part of society. In this day and age a drivers license is needed to accomplish this in most cases. Severely decreasing their ability to get a decent job might only lead them into more bad choices because of their deperation. Unless of course you were planning on society subsidizing them for the rest of their lives through social welfare programs. People make mistakes, especially young people. It seems, according to this story, that the families, while they are extremely hurt by this incident, they want these young people to learn from their mistakes and to make something of their lives. In case you missed it, here is a quote from one of the grieving parents. 'Foreman urged the defendant to make something of the rest of his life. "The routes you choose are up to you," he told Johnson.' The following was also noticed of the parents by the judge in this case, 'Superior Court Judge Eugenia Eyherabide said she was moved by how the victims' families wished Johnson well despite their devastating loss.' I, for one hope that they are able to get on the other side of this one day, having learned from thei mistakes and helping others to learn from them too. In no way will this be an easy road for them and they will have to live with the memory everyday of their lives of what they have done.
Anna Leger October 11, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Kathy - How can you say "These Boys have learned NOTHING by this punishment and as sure as I am the sun will come up tomorrow, they will no doubt commit another Wreck Less act, like racing and under the influence." Do you know them personnally? Those are pretty harsh words! I'm pretty sure those Kids will live with the memories of that tragic night for the rest of their lives. It's easy for you to judge becasue you have not walked a day in their shoes.
S Radzikowski October 11, 2012 at 05:41 PM
This will be an unpopular posting to most of you. While there were indeed the worst of tragedies possible in this matter, it appears that both of the drivers involved equally participated in choosing to race & speed. Master Johnson was not the lone participant. He alone did not cause the deaths of the other people. Each of them was equally culpable. "Sandra" writes: "...These kids need a strong message sent, the people they killed will never get to have any of life's experiences." Sandra: there was only one driver of the Passat - this was the vehicle in which two backseat passengers died in the accident. Johnson was not the driver. Why he is being charged and sentenced is beyond my ken. Yes, Johnson should not have been speeding or racing. But he did not "kill" either of the people in those back seats. STRONG MESSAGE SENT: Perhaps Johnson and maybe the friends of all of the people in the vehicles will have gotten some kind of "message" from the crashes and deaths. That's about it. If you think any other young person or anyone else will have gotten a "strong message sent" from this, you are merely propping yourself up with mis-based hope. This is the same old dribble we get from the prosecutors and judges. Next week, there will be another crash and more people will again die. Sending someone off to jail or prison will accomplish ZERO vis-a-vis "sending a message". It never has had a long-reaching effect and prolly never will.
Anna Leger October 11, 2012 at 06:17 PM
I agree that Johnson should have been charged for racing not killing 2 people.
Joe Spencer October 11, 2012 at 06:51 PM
There has to be a medium in there somewhere. I agree that a 180 day sentence is a joke...but so is 25 to life. This KID took part in behavior that he knew to be dangerous and resulted in the deaths of two other KIDS. 6 months is jail is HARDLY a lesson for that. This kind of ridiculous sentencing is a contributing factor to these sort of things happening over and over again.
adam paul October 11, 2012 at 07:05 PM
Wow people who say that Johnson shouldn't have been charged with killing 2 people don't get it. It was the racing that led to the death of the 2 students. Even though he wasn't driving the actual car they were in he was still racing which caused the incident. Its a chain reaction. What don't you get about this?
dontwant to say October 11, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Why does no one stop and ask why any parent would late their children be out this late? If there was parental supervision, they might have made better choices. This is probably not the only instance of lack of supervision, which may cause different choices to be made. Im sorry for all parties involved that were hurt.
PwmCwzy October 11, 2012 at 07:48 PM
Joe - I totally disagree with you, which isn't unusual. I believe the fault lies with the juvenile's parents. Why was he allowed to be out driving after receiving a speeding ticket just prior to this incident? Why did he have other teenagers as passengers? Why was he allowed by his parents to be out after curfew? His 1 year sentenance is the joke, let alone his parents not taking total responsibility for their juvenile son.
S Radzikowski October 11, 2012 at 08:05 PM
So, Adam, you and I are going to drive our snowmobiles down a mountain. Linda and Mary decide they are going to sit in back of and hold onto each of us respectively. Mary chooses to go with me, even tho she knows I'm not an experienced snowmobiler & it is known that we'll most likely end up racing down the hill. We proceed down the hill at a normal pace; but then we speed up and ultimately begin to "race" each other down. I lose control of my snowmobile because I'm a rookie; it flips & Mary is killed. You & Linda make it down without any mishap & have no idea that Mary and I had a crash. Who is responsible for Mary's death: 1. Mary? she chose to sit on the snowmobile; neither you nor I forced her. 2. Me? I was not an experienced snowmobiler and should never have gotten on it, let alone think about racing down the mountain 3. You? because you participated in the race? From my perspective, personal responsibility would alone find Mary culpable for her own death. She chose to sit on my snowmobile, knowing I was a novice, and knowing that some kind of racing shinanagins would take place. They throw you in jail for 6 months & tie you to a 3 year probation. The police & parents demand that you publically acknowledge your actions in causing the death of Mary - and if you fail to so, the court will probably lock you up in prison for the 5 years Sandra desires, where you will be anally raped and made someone's long term bitch. Does that fit your ethics?
S Radzikowski October 11, 2012 at 08:11 PM
Well, there you go. I agree. To boot, I believe Mr. Johnson had a prior speeding history. But, still, he was not driving the car in which the two people were killed. Nonetheless, it would definitely seem to me that the parents failed to assume the parental control they wish now they would have done to begin with. Sad for all. But IMHO, Johnson is serving bogus time.
Char October 11, 2012 at 10:29 PM
Total joke! So unfair to the lives that this kid destroyed due to a "boyhood mistake". My butt it was a mistake!!!! He should definitely get 25 years to life!! The kid murdered 2 other kids whose's lives haven't even begun. What about the kids he traumatized, the rehab and mental fears they now carry for the rest of their lives!! Geez, this is so darn infuriating and frustrating.
S Radzikowski October 12, 2012 at 04:02 AM
Well, obviously each of us has her own opinion and feeling about what is "right" and what is "just" in these matters. And that is why we have laws. And the law has spoken. As to your concern for the kids, I do believe that "That which does not kill us makes us stronger." Blessings
Kathy October 12, 2012 at 08:17 AM
Lat them take a Bus, Trolley or walk, I don;t really care as long as they are never behind the wheel again. Driving is a Privilege not a necessity. There are plenty of people who live a normal life without a vehicle, so please don't make excuses for these Boys to take anymore lives. They should live with the Memory EVERYDAY of their LIVES, about the DEATHS they caused. They at least have a Life, Jayli and Anthony no longer have a life because of them.
Kathy October 12, 2012 at 08:41 AM
and BECAUSE the LAWS are so WEAK regarding DEATH caused by another person's Wreck Less, Irresponsible and Dangerous act, these accidents continue to happen at an alarming rate. If a Teen goes into a bank with a gun to rob it and shoots and kills 2 bank employees, even though the Teen had no plans of shooting or killing anyone, just to scare them, the Teen knows they will go to prison for a very long time. If a Teen gets behind the wheel of a car, decides to Race, and 2 of his passengers die because of the accident he caused by Racing, even though the Teen Driver had no had no plans of killing 2 of his passengers, he only gets a lousy 6 months. Which punishment has more of an impact on other Teens? They both had the same outcome, 2 young lives gone. The more severe the Punishment is, the less likely the Dangerous and Criminal Act will happen. The parents of the minor should be punished, obviously they have no control over their son. I think CPS would be on order, at least for Supervision. The Insurance Company certainly will hold the parents responsible for the million dollar settlements.
Anna Leger October 12, 2012 at 01:34 PM
Kathy do you have kids?
Char October 12, 2012 at 04:59 PM
I have kids. This is a very emotional topic for readers, obviously. Yes, we have a right to speak our minds and have our own opinion. Hopefully, our voices here are going unheard by lawmakers. Kids today are selfish and spoiled, caused mainly by our society, and ultimately by the parents. The 2 teenagers in the back seat did not know these boys were going to race. I imagine none new this race was going to happen and end in a tragedy. It was the disgusting immaturity, irresponsible behavior of the 2 DRIVERS who caused this tragedy due to some stupid adrenaline rush they got....WHICH BY THE WAY, WAS INDUCED BY DRUGS and/or ALCOHOL! They are ULTIMATELY responsible for this! As for these teenagers parents, you are absolutely correct, where are they, what is their responsibility for not enforcing the curfew law and ensuring their children are safely inside their homes where they belonged. If I were the parents of the injured and dead, I would certainly be going after those families as well as the 2 drivers! My husband asked, what if it were one of my boys who caused this? I ask, what if it were one of them killed/injured? However, my reply is that is would happen, they are always in by curfew. If they are at a friends and lie to me, then I would say, they would have to serve their punishment. I pray that this never happens in my family, but am confident, that my children aren't so spoiled and selfish that they would do something like this, ever.
Char October 12, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Sorry, I saw my typo above....I hope our voices are NOT going UNHEARD by lawmakers. Our society is too weak, it uses popularity, money and influence to sway the judges and lawmakers in the direction that benefits those with money and connections. That is a shame. Our country was built on equality not just in race and sex, but in everything. It sure has gotten away from that concept in more than just this situation. It makes me sad and afraid of what our future holds. Remember, these teenagers are our future. Their actions now, speak for how they will be when they grow up. Sure, a few will change, but majority will not.


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