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.

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