Late last year prosecutors alleged Treundon Johnson was under the influence of alcohol after the vehicle he was operating swerved into oncoming traffic in Howard County, killing two Logansport teens and hospitalizing three more. Now, they’re claiming he had drugs in his system as well.
The Howard County Prosecutor’s Office recently leveled five additional felony-level charges at Johnson, 26, bringing the total amount of charges he faces to 17. Those new charges include two counts of causing death when operating a motor vehicle with a schedule I or II controlled substance in the blood, level 4 felonies; as well as three counts of causing serious bodily injury when operating a vehicle with a schedule I or II substance in the body, level 5 felonies.
Howard County Prosecutor Mark McCann didn’t elaborate on what drug may have been in Johnson’s system at the time of the fatal November crash, but he said the additional charges stemmed from lab results obtained from the state.
In Indiana, schedule I substances include lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana, ecstasy, methaqualone, and peyote. Schedule II drugs include hydrocodone, cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, hydromorphone, Demerol, oxycodone, fentanyl, Dexedrine, Adderall, and Ritalin.
McCann said it’s not clear whether Johnson was high at the time of the crash, in addition to allegedly being under the influence of alcohol. But the prosecutor said within the state of Indiana charges hold so long as the substance was found to remain in a defendant’s system.
“I’m not saying it’s marijuana, but in Indiana if you’ve got it in your system, like marijuana, somebody could’ve smoked it three days ago. And if it got in your system while causing serious bodily injury or death, it still sticks,” said McCann.
The other charges Johnson faces include two counts of causing death when operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, level 4 felonies; three counts of causing serious bodily injury when operating a vehicle while intoxicated, level 5 felonies; two counts of reckless homicide, level 5 felonies; and five counts of driving while suspended.
All the charges originated from an incident that occurred around 2 a.m. on Nov. 18, after officers were dispatched to an area just east of County Road 80 West and County Road 450 North in reference to a two-vehicle accident.
According to a probable cause affidavit, responding officers identified Johnson on the scene as the driver of a vehicle traveling east on State Road 35. Court documents indicated the Logansport man told officers he was entering the curves located just east of County Road 80 West when “he felt as if his power steering had gone out because his steering wheel was hard to turn.” This caused his vehicle to enter an oncoming lane, striking a 2011 Kia Soul operated by 18-year-old Elizabeth Smith of Logansport.
Smith survived the impact and was transported to a local hospital before being moved to Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis for treatment. Two other Logansport teens riding in Smith’s vehicle were killed. They were identified as Auden Myers, 16, and Haley Begley, 17.
Two other Logansport teens, only identified as a 17-year-old male and a 16-year-old female, also were injured during the crash and transported to Indianapolis for treatment.
In speaking with officers after the crash, one officer indicated Johnson “exhibited signs of intoxication.”
“Treundon was using his vehicle to keep him steady, his speech was slurred, his eyes appeared glassy, and I observed his balance was unsteady. I also observed the odor commonly associated with an alcoholic beverage on Treundon’s breath and person,” wrote one officer in a probable cause affidavit.
That same officer claimed to have found empty beer cans in Johnson’s vehicle.
When officers attempted to conduct field sobriety tests on Johnson, he allegedly “began complaining of pain,” and sobriety tests were not completed at the scene. Johnson also refused chemical tests later at a hospital.
Johnson is slated to appear for a jury trial in Howard Circuit Court on Sept. 3.