Poland man receives three years in aggravated vehicular homicide
By Justin Wier
Dina Watters said the year since her son Johnathan died – he was the passenger in a drunken-driving crash – has been the hardest year of her life.
“My heart shattered into pieces,” she told Judge John M. Durkin of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court. “All I ever feel now is sadness.”
Raymond Johnson, 21, of Poland, received a sentence Tuesday of three years in prison for his role in the Aug. 6, 2016, death of Johnathan Watters, 21, of Youngstown.
Watters’ mother described learning of her son’s death and her struggle to cope with the loss.
She said she forgives Johnson, but she emphasized he needs to face the consequences for his decisions.
“You will go back home,” she said. “My Johnathan will not.”
Johnson lost control of the car he was driving while traveling on Sheridan Road near Holbrook Road in Boardman about 6:20 a.m. The car went off the right side of the road and overturned, Ohio State Highway Patrol officers said at the time. Watters was ejected from the vehicle.
“Nights of merrymaking can quickly turn into nightmares when alcohol is involved,” said Kevin Trapp, an assistant county prosecutor.
Johnson and Watters were both friends who were intoxicated at the time of the accident, prosecutors said.
“He was my best friend,” Johnson said of Watters. “I wish I could go back, and I can’t. I feel so bad for what I did.”
Earlier this year, Johnson pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated vehicular homicide and one count of driving under the influence.
He will have the possibility of judicial release after one year and will also receive a five-year driver’s license suspension upon release and $375 in fines.
Johnson also pleaded guilty to a count of attempted receiving of stolen property in an unrelated case in which a safe at AMVETS Post 44 in Struthers was broken into. John Brown, a post member, said it was unable to award scholarships to students at Struthers High School this year because of the theft.
For that, Judge Durkin sentenced Johnson to two years’ probation upon release and 200 hours of community service to local veterans.