More Tragedy Flows From Fatal POV Crash in Ohio

The ex-wife of a firefighter is facing a lawsuit over comments she posted on a Facebook page about a fatal POV accident he was involved in. This is a long one… and a sad one with absolutely no winners.

Firefighter Timothy Johnson of the Portage Fire District, was responding to a mutual aid structure fire on July 16, 2010 when his personally owned vehicle collided with a car driven by Olivia Duty. Duty’s boyfriend, Ian Huffman, 24, was killed in the crash. Police estimated Johnson’s speed at between 96-98 miles per hour just before the collision.

Johnson was charged with aggravated vehicular homicide and aggravated vehicular assault, and ended up pleading guilty to one count negligent vehicular homicide and attempted negligent homicide. He was sentenced to 9 months in prison and his driver’s license was suspended for three years.

Parents of Ian Huffman,  John and Maureen Huffman,  and Olivia Duty,  filed the wrongful-death and personal-injury lawsuit against Johnson and the Portage Fire District. It was settled for $1.57 million last fall.

In response to an online posting about the settlement on a Facebook account operated by a newspaper, The Blade, Johnson’s ex-wife, Christian Kinsler Johnson, posted the following:

“Lights and siren were on ! ! ! ! Clear fact in the trial ! ! “

” .. .It was proven that emergency lights can be seen for a very very long distance away . .. they did a test . .. they said there is NO way that she would not have seen them, esp if she said she looked that direction twice … Oh, but wait, she also said that she didn’t remember stopping either . . . Wow … Lets get our story right, Olivia Duty ! !”

” … It was never proven that was the speed … reconstruction showed one speed . . . black box another .. . pretty amazing that he was going that fast with a governor on his vehicle ! “

” … One, she pulled out, two Ian was not wearing a seatbelt. It does not matter if someone was doing 55 or higher which was never proven.”

“Lights were on as witnesses say, including a siren that was heard by several . .. Could this have been and {sic} accident of one young man not wearing his seatbelt and one young woman not paying attention and having two good of a time that night … There should have been then (sic) one to be punished for this incident … Mr. Johnson took this plea for the benefit of his children. My children ! ! They have suffered just as much as Ian and his family . .. “

“IF YOU ASK MANY and I mean MANY, you will see that people are [on] Mr. Johnson’s side … Olivia Duty not taking her responsibility of the accident is WRONG … but you know … she will have to live with herself knowing what was the real cause ! ! !”

” … And God bless Olivia Duty for being the great woman she is. Her parents should be so proud!!”

“Money cannot bring back a child but making others suffer for another persons fault is sicking (sic) … I hope you’re happy Olivia Duty ! You will have to live with your LIES for the rest of your life! No amount of money can erase the choices you made that night!”

“People who hold license are expected to follow the laws too!!!! Pulling out in front of a fire fighter with lights and siren, not stopping a stop sign and then pulling out into a southbound lane when you’re beading NORTH is illegal … Telling the patrolman that night you don’t remember stopping … and then telling them later that you stopped and looked 3 TIMES ! ! ! And saw nothing … which is plenty of time to see something Olivia Duty!!! But oh yeah wait a minute!!!!! You didn’t stop at the slop sign ….. yes or no … which is the story … “

“I am disappointed that it was someone else’s fault and she makes off with the money.”

“Do you know there was evidence showing Mr. Johnson was going 30 miles slower than indicated”

“There was more to the case in Mr. Johnson’s favor … and more evidence showing Olivia Duty was the main cause of the accident.”

” .. .I am disappointed that not one time you have even considered Olivia Duty at fault and to me that is sad and that is your problem .. . I an1 disappointed in a young woman’s decision to not take her part in the accident … to lie on the things she did.”

“Olivia Duty you are a LIAR!!”

In addition, Johnson’s children allegedly posted:

“Its OK mom, God will see them for their lies and then will be punished to burn in hell forever.”

” How dare you even lie in court, you are worthless ! ! ! ! !”

The two count complaint alleges intentional infliction of emotional distress and defamation. It was filed by John Huffman, Ian’s father.

Here is a copy of the complaint. FIREFIGHTER.LAWSUIT

More on the original story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
  • Man that’s a tough one. Gotta be wary of what you post nowadays online in case you’re sued for defamation.

  • ukfbbuff


    But apparently, one still is supposed to have 1st Amendment rights to be heard “Socially”.

    By filing this new lawsuit it appears to an attempt to suppress this.

    • Mike Rebate

      When did you obtain your law degree or are you still working on that GED.

      “Olivia Duty you are a LIAR!!”

      ” How dare you even lie in court, you are worthless ! ! ! ! !”

  • Mike Rebate

    Excellent. She deserves to be slapped down and ultimately penniless !! The dangerous killer should have been sentenced with much more than 9 months. I was almost killed by a slack jaw VFD cowboy who was doing 50mph in a 30 while passing on a double yellow. This $&#$*@) went through an intersection on the opposite/wrong lane. Had I pulled out at the stop sign into my lane (after glancing to my left) it would have been a head on.

    Relevant material on the topic of super hero cowboys who endanger the public……….

    Mike Wilbur wrote an article for Firehouse Magazine (Nov 08) EV Ops section titled “Warning: POV’s Kill”.

    It seems to me that maybe that should be titled “Warning: POV Drivers Kill”. Not to get into symantics here, but a vehicle never killed anyone. It’s usually been the immature, reckless, untrained, or irresponsible drivers of the POV that cause the accident that kills someone. Two of the Three examples given were of FF’s age 25 and under (one being a cadet!!). I don’t know the statistics, but I would venture a guess that a majority of POV deaths occur when the driver is 25 or younger. (post legitimate stats if you have ’em)

    I’ve seen and heard A LOT of debate on POV responses and POV light and siren authorizations, but no one EVER seems to get to the root of the problem; the guy behind the wheel. I can understand that it might be hard to determine an individual’s level of responsibility; however, age, training, and driving history should be a MAJOR deciding factor. I’ll even admit the way I drove my POV when I was 24 is vastly different than today. Simply put…I’ve matured.


    Tuesday, February 3, 2015 19:00
    – For this week’s Company In Service training, Deputy Chief Bill Kelly invited the DSFS to “reinforce good habits while responding.” DSFS Instructor Mark Dolan (Mill Creek FD) presented information both from video and from Delaware State Law, that is pertinent to all members in the Volunteer Fire Service. “Our reputations are on the line every time we get behind the wheel” he exclaimed to the class of 31 volunteers ranging from new license holders to veteran operators for company. According to VFIS (Volunteer Firemen’s Insurance Services) “one of the biggest risks regarding volunteers is they think they can respond as an emergency vehicle” which isn’t the case.

    We would like to thank Mark Dolan for presenting the material. We would also like to remind all of our members and our brothers and sisters that may respond to the next call for service, the 25% of all LODD are from traffic accidents and as Instructor Dolan said ” guess what, all of those were 100% preventable.” Prevention starts with us. Safe Driving!


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