The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

July 11, 2012

Charges filed against driver in accident that killed MSSU athletes

Two charges of involuntary manslaughter have been filed against the 20-year-old driver of an SUV that crashed on Interstate 44 in December, killing two Missouri Southern football players.

Jeremy Johnson, 20, has been charged in the deaths of Diondre Johnson and Michael McCrimmons, both 19 and both of Springfield.

He has pleaded not guilty.

Diondre Johnson and McCrimmons died when the SUV they were in rolled and collided with a tractor-trailer on Interstate 44 east of Sarcoxie.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol said Diondre Johnson died after being thrown from the vehicle, and that a tractor-trailer truck then hit the students’ vehicle, killing McCrimmons.

Jeremy Johnson’s attorney, Tyson Martin, said his client is still in a wheelchair from injuries sustained in the accident.

Patrick M. Holt, 19, of Benton, Ark., and a member of the MSSU golf team, also was injured in the accident.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol said a series of accidents began at 2:30 a.m. on Dec. 2 when a sport-utility vehicle, driven by Jeremy Johnson, ran off the westbound lanes into the median cables two miles east of Sarcoxie. The vehicle, which overturned, came to rest in the eastbound passing lane of the interstate.

Diondre Johnson was thrown from the vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

McCrimmons and Holt were in the sport-utility vehicle when it was struck by an eastbound tractor-trailer rig driven by Steven Sweeten, 39, Cameron, Okla. Sweeten was not injured.

Jeremy Johnson was walking across the eastbound driving lane to the highway shoulder when he was hit by an eastbound car driven by Charles A. Lee, 62, Wentworth. Lee was not injured.


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