Deputies Make Second Arrest in Hit and Run That Killed Grandmother

Two 16-year-olds are in custody and deputies are still searching for an outstanding 18-year-old man

Deputies have made a second arrest and are still searching for a third and final suspect in a deadly hit-and-run crash that followed a street brawl Wednesday in Santee.

San Diego County Sheriff’s deputies say the three suspects were involved in a fight with a teenager on the 10230 block of Molino Road just after 8 p.m.

After Good Samaritans ran over to stop the fight, the three suspects got into a late model Honda Civic and fled the scene. While making their exit, they struck two women who were with one of the Good Samaritans.

Family members say Julie Johnson, 46, was struck while on the sidewalk and her body traveled more than 50 feet before it landed. She was hospitalized with a serious head injury.

Her family told NBC 7 on Thursday that she was not expected to survive, and deputies confirmed Friday that she had succumbed to her injuries.

Jayme Morton Johnson, 30, was also seriously injured and was released from the hospital Thursday.

The suspect vehicle was discovered later that night in a church parking lot on Magnolia Street, a few miles from the crime scene. Shortly after, a 16-year-old who told deputies he was a passenger in the car turned himself in.

Deputies had been searching for the remaining two suspects, thought to be two 18-year-old men. They told NBC 7 they know who they were and where they hang out, but were worried media attention to the story had scared them into hiding.

On Friday, a second 16-year-old man turned himself in to deputies. The third suspect, described as an 18-year-old man 6 feet and 1 inch tall weighing 140 pounds, is still outstanding, deputies said.

Both 16-year-olds were booked into Juvenile Hall and charged with felony hit and run.

The family of Julie Johnson has started a GoFundMe, which can be found here

Jayme Morton Johnson, 30, was also seriously injured during the incident and was released form the hospital Thursday.

“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.

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.”

Contact Us