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Teen convicted of reckless driving in fatal Van Buren Co. crash

Demos Johnson, at reading of verdict, 5/3/18

PAW PAW, Mich. — A Van Buren County has been convicted of Reckless Driving Causing Death for a fatal crash last June.

A jury returned their verdict Thursday morning after beginning deliberations Wednesday.

On June 17, 2017, Johnson blew past a stop sign and slammed into a vehicle driven by Alex Yeider, 30, at 32nd and 45th streets. Johnson testified Wednesday that he told deputies that day that he was traveling at a “high rate of speed,” talking to his friend Jack Hurst and that he did not see a stop sign ahead of them.  Yeider was killed.

Prosecutor Mike Bedford stated, during his closing arguments, that Johnson’s decision to blow past the stop sign, while speeding, was “willful and wanton disregard.”

“When you disregard a stop sign in a 55 mile-per-hour zone, that’s the willful, wanton, that’s the extreme danger that you are exposing anyone that has the right of way,” Bedford said.

Bedford also pointed out that Johnson committed the same act 35 days prior to the crash, on May 13, 2017. He said Johnson and his girlfriend were headed to prom that night when he flew past a stop sign in Kalamazoo and crashed into a van with children in it.

Johnson will be sentenced on June 25.

 

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