In this article, you will get all the information regarding Man Guilty of Reckless Driving in Crash That Killed Broward Deputy, Acquitted of DUI Manslaughter, Vehicular Homicide – NBC 6 South Florida
The driver charged in the 2019 crash that killed a Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy just days before he was set to leave the department is a free man, after a jury found him guilty of reckless driving but acquitted him of the more serious charges including DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide.
The jury returned the verdict Friday against Darran Joseph Johnson in the July 2019 crash that killed Deputy Benjamin “Benji” Nimtz.
Broward Judge Thomas J. Coleman gave Johnson 90 days in jail for the reckless driving charge. Johnson was also given 364 days in jail after pleading no contest to charges driving with a suspended license and possession of cannabis.
But Johnson, who’s spent more than two years behind bars while awaiting trial, was given credit for time served.
He’s now a free man, though Coleman suspended his driver’s license for 10 years.
If Johnson had been convicted on the most serious charges he would have faced as many as 34 years in prison.
Prosecutors said Johnson was drunk and failed to yield when he slammed into Nimtz’s car as Nimtz was responding to a domestic violence call in Deerfield Beach.
Evidence showed the deputy had his lights and sirens flashing as he rushed to the call.
Johnson, now 36, also shouldn’t have been behind the wheel at the time of the crash because his license was suspended, officials said.
Nimtz was 30 years old at the time and left behind a wife and two children. He was days away from starting a new job in Indiana with less than a week left on the job at the Broward County Sheriff’s Office when he was hit and killed.
Defense attorneys argued the crash was caused by Nimtz, and said the blood test that led to the DUI charges was not accurate and Johnson was suffering from a concussion.
After two weeks of testimony, body camera and other evidence was presented, attorneys gave their closing arguments Thursday.
“This case is about making somebody pay, somebody has to pay because somebody died. But that’s not the law, and I’ll tell you why you should find my client not guilty,” defense attorney Zeljka Bozanic said.
“We know that Mr. Johnson’s failure to yield to the police lights, the flashing lights and sirens, if he had just yielded to the lights and sirens, we wouldn’t be here,” assistant state attorney Ross Weiner said.
Closing arguments were underway in the trial of a driver accused of DUI manslaughter in a crash that killed a BSO deputy. NBC 6’s Heather Walker reports
Man Guilty of Reckless Driving in Crash That Killed Broward Deputy, Acquitted of DUI Manslaughter, Vehicular Homicide – NBC 6 South Florida
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