This week, Jasper County Prosecutors brought manslaughter charges against a driver involved in a fatal crash last winter, according to KY3. Jeremy Johnson was driving when his SUV crashed on I-44 in December, killing two former Parkview High School football players, Diondre Johnson and Michael McCrimmons. A third passenger, Patrick Holt, was also critically injured in the wreck.
On the night of the crash, the four young men - all students at Missouri Southern in Joplin - were heading home after a late evening at a Springfield nightclub. According to witnesses, the SUV was speeding excessively before it struck a median cable and overturned into westbound traffic. Diondre Johnson was ejected from the vehicle and killed instantly.
Immediately after the wreck, Jeremy Johnson exited the SUV and was hit by a passing car. Seconds later, a tractor trailer struck the overturned vehicle, killing McCrimmons and seriously injuring Holt. Jeremy Johnson was also seriously injured: he is currently in a wheelchair and undergoes daily physical therapy sessions.
According to prosecutors, the Missouri Highway Patrol found that Jeremy Johnson was under the influence of alcohol when the crash occurred, and he has been charged with two counts of manslaughter. Manslaughter charges are common when someone is killed unintentionally or without malice. There are two types of manslaughter: voluntary and involuntary. Voluntary manslaughter charges tend to be brought against defendants who commit crimes due to being provoked.
In contrast, involuntary manslaughter charges are most often brought when someone's death is caused by negligence. For example, reckless driving is the most common basis for involuntary manslaughter charges. However, the charge can be amended to murder if there is proof the negligence was intentional. In some states, driving under the influence and causing a death can be considered murder rather than manslaughter.