The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

June 24, 2013

Driver in accident that claimed two MSSU football players pleads guilty to involuntary manslaughter

By Susan Redden
sredden@joplinglobe.com

JOPLIN, Mo. — The driver of a vehicle who killed two Missouri Southern State University football players in 2011 pleaded guilty to two counts of involuntary manslaughter in Jasper County Circuit Court today.

Jeremy Johnson, 21, of Harrison, Ark., pleaded guilty to the two counts in connection with the deaths of Diondre Johnson and Michael McCrimmons, both 19 and both of Springfield.

Jeremy Johnson and Patrick Holt, of Benton, Ark. also were injured in the accident that occurred on Interstate 44 east of Sarcoxie.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the accident occurred at about 2:30 a.m. on Dec. 2 when a sport-utility vehicle driven by Jeremy Johnson ran off the interstate’s westbound lanes and into the median cables two miles east of Sarcoxie. The vehicle overturned and came to rest in the eastbound passing lane of the interstate.  

Diondre Johnson was thrown from the vehicle, the patrol said, while McCrimmons and Holt were inside the vehicle when it was struck by an eastbound tractor trailer rig. The patrol said Jeremy Johnson was walking across the eastbound driving lane when he was hit by an eastbound car.

Jeremy Johnson in July had pleaded non-guilty to the manslaughter charges. A probable cause statement filed in Jasper County Circuit Court alleged his blood-alcohol content following the accident was .11 percent. The legal limit in Missouri for drivers is .08 percent.

Circuit Judge Gayle Crane set sentencing for Aug. 19.