A grandmother struck on Wednesday by a hit-and-run driver after a street brawl in Santee is not expected to survive her injuries, her family told NBC7. Family members say they believe the woman was intentionally struck.
Another woman injured in the incident will be released from the hospital on Thursday, according to family members.
San Diego County Sheriff’s deputies say the driver hit the women and then took off from the 10230 block of Molino Road just after 8 p.m. Wednesday.
Deputies later discovered the suspect's vehicle in a church parking lot on Magnolia Street, a few miles from the crime scene.
Family members say Julie Johnson was struck while on the sidewalk and her body traveled more than 50 feet before it landed. She's hospitalized with a serious head injury.
“As the Christian man that I am, God says you’re supposed to forgive, but at the same time, I want them to feel the force of justice and get what they deserve,” said Rick Johnson, the victim’s son.
Jayme Morton Johnson, the other woman seriously injured during the incident, rolled off the car and she is expected to recover from her injuries, her family said.
Witness Mike Sanchez told NBC 7 two men were involved in a fight with his teenage neighbor, known only as Jonah, right in front of his house.
"I’m not quite sure what to believe but I’ve been told it was over owed drug money,” said Rick Johnson about what started the fight.
Other witnesses also told NBC 7 the fight was about drug money owed to the three individuals with the car.
“Out of their stupidity for maybe 20 dollars that the kid owed them, one life was taken,” Rick Johnson said.
Sanchez and Bobby Johnson, who was across the street with his wife Jayme and mother Julie, ran to try and break up the fight.
After successfully halting the brawl, the two men involved in the fight, and the 16-year-old minor, got into a late model Honda Civic, and drove off.
That’s when they hit the two women and continued driving, Sanchez said.
"They came out, the two women are over there are innocent, watching what's going on," Sanchez described. "The car hits them, both of them. Dumped them in the street — 'Pow, pow.' I'm trying to help the ladies because I thought they were going to die."
Bobby Johnson confronted Jonah outside his home Thursday and accused him of lying to him and deputies about the identity of the three suspects.
"You lied to me straight to my face. You said you didn't know who it was, dude," he said. "I had your back, though, dude. You didn't have to lie to my face. I was just trying to find out the dudes who [expletive] killed my mom."
Deputies said one of the men inside the vehicle later called the sheriff's department to turn himself in and provide investigators with information about the vehicle.
He was described as a 16-year-old boy who was booked into Juvenile Hall for felony hit-and-run, deputies said.
The other two 18-year-old men in the vehicle at the time of the crash have not been taken into custody, deputies said.
Investigators told NBC 7 they know who the suspects are and where they hang out, but fear that media attention has scared them into hiding.
Both Johnson sons said it was their mom who had urged someone to go out and help the teenage neighbor fighting with the men in the car.
“I know that she’ll die saving — trying to save that kid, and maybe she did,” Johnson said. “Maybe something worse could’ve happened if she didn’t have my brother come out and help, I don’t know. But I know her heart was in the right place trying to help him.”
The family has started a GoFundMe, which can be found here.