Family Of Alleged Van Buren County Drunk Driver Speaks On Troubled Past

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The family of a man who was allegedly drunk behind the wheel when causing a wreck that left three people dead in Van Buren County says the man has been through a personal hell in the past two years.

A cousin of David Johnson, 32, says Johnson had been dealing with stomach cancer and a rocky marriage leading up to the Wednesday night crash that took the lives of  two children. Cassadi Berryhill, 4, and her sister, Kandice, 2, died in the crash. Brittney King, 24, was the driver of one of the three cars involved in the wreck and also died.

The father of the two girls, Justin Berryhill, is in stable condition at Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo.

Johnson’s cousin says David knew the family who lost their two daughters.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Johnson’s cousin said. “I know he knows he’s in the wrong. His heart’s broken for what he did.”

According to the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department, Johnson’s criminal record should never have allowed him on the road. At the time of the crash, his license was suspended. He has prior convictions of operating under the influence of liquor and operating while impaired by liquor. Johnson also has seven other convictions of driving with a suspended licenses.

FOX 17 also found a 2003 conviction on a drug charge on Johnson’s record.

Johnson’s cousin says the man she and her family call “Buddy” was planning to buy the truck involved in the wreck, a 1997 Ford F-150 that belonged to Adam Cripps of Grand Junction. Cripps didn’t return calls or messages from FOX 17 on Wednesday.

Johnson’s cousin also says this isn’t the first time that her family has dealt with a drunk driving tragedy.

In 2006, Johnson’s cousin lost her right arm in a drunk driving accident in Indiana.

“We’re all heartbroken on both sides,” she said. “We’ve been through this on both sides now.”

“It’s hard. It’s really hard. It’s bringing back a lot of memories for all of us. And we know that David should have. ..he knew better. We know he knew better.”

But the family isn’t acting like they’re the victims.

“We’re not wanting sympathy for what he did. We’re sorry for what our family member has done.”

Johnson’s cousin says David went through surgeries this afternoon at Bronson. As of Wednesday night, no charges had been filed against him.

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  • disgusted

    disgusting. this ass hole killed 3 innocent people, two of them were children, babies and his family wants to blame it on his hard life. they can go to hell with him after he dies from his cancer.

  • Bill Dikant

    And now the deaths of these 3 innocent people are nothing because he over indulged in Alcoholic beverages????.Just excuse this act of "HIGHWAY TERRORISM"???.The family of the deceased will long carry this in their heart's and souls.

    "No parent should have to bury a CHILD!." His affliction is sad in it's own, but certainly not anEXCUSE for the action.

    Bill Dikant , Victim Advocate,
    Castleton, N.Y. 12033

  • Vanessa

    Dear DJ,

    Today we had to bury our three beautiful girls.

    Today we had to bury the opportunity for two mothers to braid their daughters’ hair, paint their fingernails, and read a bedtime story before they got tucked into bed tonight.

    Today we buried abc’s, 1st grade, grandparents’ day, and middle school graduation for two little angels.

    Today we buried the opportunity for two mothers to prepare their daughters for high school prom, boyfriends, and first dates.

    Today we buried sweet 16 birthdays with their mothers, late night talks with best friends, camping trips, and homecoming.

    Today we buried football games, high school graduation, and college acceptance letters.

    Today we buried a father’s wish to walk his daughters down the aisle on their wedding day.

    Today I had to hold my niece as she called out for her mother and two little best friends while she tried to cry herself to sleep.

    Today I had to comfort their mother, father, and grandparents as they wept and longed to hold their babies; to hear their laughter, and to hear their cry.

    Today we felt what it was like to lose a mother, a daughter(s), a niece(s), a best friend(s), and a grand child(ren).

    Today we not only buried three girls, but distant memories and vacant dreams.

    The sadness for our family will reside, however, the wrath of guilt will forever be upon you.

    For today, the will rest in peace, but you shall weep in your consequences.

    If you have a god, today you must pray.