RICHMOND, Va (WRIC) — Three months after a young couple was ejected from their car in a crash with a Richmond police cruiser in Southside, the parents of one of the victims responded to charges against the officer allegedly connected to the incident.
Officer Richard D. Johnson faces two felony counts of involuntary manslaughter, and two misdemeanors — one for reckless driving and another for failure to yield right of way, according to a grand jury indictment announced Tuesday.
Steven Williams and Tiara Williams-Hill are still grieving the loss of their 19-year-old daughter Tracey, who was in the passenger seat as her boyfriend, Jeremiah Ruffin, was driving. Ruffin, 18, was also killed in the crash.
“I feel like something is being accomplished,” Williams-Hill said, after the charges were announced by Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Colette McEachin.
Steven Williams said the crash, “still feels like yesterday.”
Officer Johnson is deemed innocent in a court of law until proven guilty.
McEachin’s statement said he’ll be arraigned at a “future date“ at the Richmond Circuit Court.
“Nobody had anything bad to say about her at all, she had no enemies whatsoever,” Williams-Hill said of her daughter.
After the crash on Bells and Castlewood Roads on the night of April 7, questions were raised surrounding what happened. Were they headed to a burglary call like Chief Smith said? Did the officers have their emergency lights on?
Williams said he has seen surveillance video of the crash, saying, “they [the officer] didn’t yield; no siren, they didn’t yield to oncoming traffic. Like I said, it was very fast and hard.”
“They [police] actually did have their [emergency] lights on, but the fact that they were going pretty fast, faster than they should be, is the problem,” Williams-Hill said.
The police department responded to the charges, saying Officer Johnson is on “unpaid leave,” “the circumstances surrounding this accident are unfortunate” and “we continue to pray for the families and their healing.”