Witnesses Say a Man was Street Racing When He Struck and Killed a Woman

A 46-year-old Kennewick man remains in the Benton County Jail tonight on a 72-hour prosecutorial hold for vehicular homicide.

Michael Johnson was driving the car which struck and killed Nina Howard yesterday afternoon.

Sebastian Martin was watching TV when he heard a loud screech, he ran outside and saw a white Chevy Nova fishtailing west on 27th Ave. near Ely St. and moments later noticed Howard laying in the street.

Witnesses tell police Johnson and a car later found to be driven by Johnson's son were street racing.

They tell police Howard was crossing the street, when she got to the middle of the street she turned back headed toward the curb, and that's when Johnson's car hit her.

Martin said he was shocked to see Howard's body lying in the street.

"I was trying to see if she was breathing," said Martin. "I didn't touch her but a gentleman had come by and asked if anyone had done CPR on her and basically proceeded to do the CPR until the ambulance came."

Howard was pronounced dead at the scene.  

Court documents state Johnson admits to taking lithium two hours before the accident.

He also admits to taking medical marijuana in the oil form and had last taken that the night before the accident.

An officer with the Kennewick Police Department who was on the scene states in court records Johnson was very lethargic and unemotional.

Kennewick police say pedestrians should always use cross-walks but it is always a driver's responsibility to look out for anyone who may in the road.

The speed limit on that part of 27th Ave. is 40 mph, police say Johnson was speeding which will be taken into consideration in court.

Johnson's next court date is scheduled for April 17th. The prosecutor's office has until Friday afternoon to charge him.

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