Preliminary Hearing Scheduled for 18-Year-Old Driver in Crash Leaving La Jolla

Michael Sebastian Johnson, of East County, faces 15 years in state prison if convicted of five felony charges.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled Thursday for an 18- year-old man who was allegedly racing a 16-year-old motorist when that driver crashed on state Route 52 leaving a party in La Jolla Shores, .

Michael Sebastian Johnson, a graduate of Santana High School in Santee, faces 15 years in state prison if convicted of five felony charges, including gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.

At Johnson's arraignment, Deputy District Attorney Kristen Spieler said the defendant was racing and zigzagging in and out of traffic just before his friend's car crashed near Convoy Street on April 4 about 11:45 p.m. as they headed home from a bonfire at .

Spieler said Johnson -- who stayed at the scene after the crash – appeared to be under the influence, and a small amount of drugs was found in his car.

The 16-year-old driver of the car that crashed was charged in Juvenile Court with vehicular manslaughter, but prosecutors seek to have him tried as an adult.

California Highway Patrol public affairs Officer Art Athans said the younger suspect was behind the wheel of a Volkswagen Passat, taking four other teenagers home from the beach party, when he lost control of the sedan, which careened into a center divider near Convoy Street, struck a bridge pillar and flipped seven times, end over end.

Two back-seat passengers in the Passat, 16-year-old Jayli Campbell and 18-year-old Anthony Foreman, were ejected from the vehicle and killed.

The driver of the Volkswagen sustained moderate injuries in the crash. His other two passenger, a 17-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl, were seriously injured.

Johnson, who was driving a Volvo S40 sedan, was not involved in the crash, and he and his two passengers were uninjured. The 16-year-old driver was found to have been sober at the time of the accident.

At the end of the preliminary hearing, a judge will decide if enough evidence was presented for Johnson to stand trial.

-City News Service


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