Crash Victims Clash With Suspect’s Family in Court

VAN BUREN COUNTY, Mich. – Gut-wrenching testimony was delivered in court Wednesday from Justin Berryhill about what happened after a serious crash on County Road 388.

The incident happened on November 13, 2012. Berryhill, a passenger, was the only survivor. His wife’s cousin Brittney King was driving while his two young daughters were passengers in the car.

The three died due to injuries sustained in the crash.

Police and a medical expert testified David Johnson, 32, was driving drunk in a pickup truck and hit the family car while he was trying to pass another vehicle.  Police say his pickup then partially drove over the family’s car because of its size and the speed and force at which it was traveling.

When Berryhill became conscious again following the accident, he was screaming for his two young daughters. “Whenever I woke up and people were trying to work on me, I told them, don’t worry about me I just want them to get my babies because I really couldn’t move. I just wanted them to get to my babies.  I just kept saying ‘get to my babies’,” said Justin Berryhill.

Officers on the scene initially thought there was just a pile of crumpled clothes in the backseat. When they realized there were children in there, they discovered the oldest, Cassadi Berryhill, was still breathing and trying to speak and an officer wrapped her in a coat to keep her warm. They family broke down in court as they discovered one of their little girls was trying to speak to officers on the scene just before she died.

“When you live for somebody you know and then they get took from you, you don’t really know what to do anymore,” said Justin Berryhill.

Police also testified that the girl’s died from internal injuries partially associated with the adult seat-belts they were wearing and car seats could have saved the their lives.
“If they were in the car seat, would they be alive today?”, asked Johnson’s defense attorney. “Yes I believe they would be,” said Traffic Reconstructionist Sergeant James Campbell with the Michigan State Police.

As the defendant David Johnson walked out on crutches his family confronted the victim’s family about their failure to use car seats and deputies had to separate those who were bubbling over with emotions.

The Berryhill family fought back while in tears saying the reason their daughters are dead was because of Johnson’s drunk driving. Testimony in court revealed Johnson’s blood alcohol level was point-32.

The family feels this is a case of the defense blaming the victim.

“Yes, I do I definitely do. It’s his fault. Everything is his fault. When I don’t even remember having seen the car coming, literally, I don’t remember and boom. I woke up.  There’s no way we could have avoided it,at all,” says Justin Berryhill.
“He took the life of my babies and my best friend.” Alicia Quinones as she remembered her daughters Cassadi, Kandice and her cousin Brittney.

The family still has a fund set up in Berryhill’s name at Chemical Bank for those who have been donating to support the family.

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6 comments

  • linda

    the defendant David Johnson was super drunk and speeding, He caused their deaths, irregardless of the seat belt issue… why put this family who is already grieving the loss of their babies go thru this THINKING THAT THEIR babies DEATHS WAS THEIR FAULT? if he hadn't been driving drunk and passing that car they would not have died…… simple fact….Brittany died in this crash also, what is their excuse for HER death that would NOT involve the idiot being drunk, he still caused her death. this IS still a murder trial

  • Tammys

    The father should be charged with child indangerment, it’s not Davids fault that the father neglecting his children,.. Common sense..

    • Anonymous

      It is Davids fault that two young beautiful little girls & a mother of two beautiful girls are dead. It’s not Justin’s fault that David drank & decided to cross that line. You’d agree with Justin If this EVER happened to you. So maybe you should be a little open minded & have a heart.

  • ttfn4all

    Tammys…I am appalled at your attitude and comment. Could the children have survived if they had been in car seats? POSSIBLY. Would they still be alive today if Johnson hadn't been driving drunk that day? DEFINITELY! I hope and pray that you never have to suffer a loss like this of your own. However, if you did, I suspect your opinion would be far different.

  • Anonymous

    There is so reason to blame the father in this situation. You can not tell me that there was never a time that you believed you didn’t need a car seat because you were just running down the road. They were just heading to McDonald’s to feed his daughters & he didn’t think anything would happen. Who thinks that theyll be hit by a drunk driver? No one. They think people would have enough sense. Yes they should have been in car seats but there isn’t anyone out there that has always had their kid in a car seat. So you can’t possibly blame the father. If you were hit by and drunk driver & lost your kids & best friend who would you blame? The drunk driver. Because its the drunk drivers fault. David Johnson deserves life. He deserves to loose his family the way the Berryhills have. He deserves to suffer because I guarantee the Berryhills & their family are. He should go to hell. These 3 innocent people shouldn’t have died due to stupid ignorant mistakes. The family of those 3 innocent people shouldn’t have to suffer while David Johnson is still walking this Earth. He should have taken the place of the 3 innocent people.