Prosecutors with the state attorney general’s office have taken over the case against the Chester woman charged in an October crash that killed an 11-year-old boy.
Michelle Johnson, 57, who is charged with felony hit and run resulting in death, waived a probable cause hearing this week, said her lawyer, Sixth Circuit Chief Public Defender Mike Lifsey. He declined further comment.
Johnson, who has no previous criminal record, remains free on $25,000 bond. She faces up to 25 years in prison, if convicted.
Police say Johnson was the driver who hit La’Darious Wylie, 11, at his school bus stop on Oct. 27 and did not stop to help or call police to report the incident.
La’Darious pushed his 7-year-old sister to safety before he was struck by the oncoming vehicle, his family has said. He died the next day at a Charlotte hospital.
State prosecutors were asked to take over the case to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest because an employee at the Sixth Circuit Solicitor’s Office attends the same church as Johnson, Solicitor Randy Newman said.
No trial date has been set, said Mark Powell, spokesman for the attorney general’s office.
La’Darious’ heroism made headlines nationally and internationally. The state Legislature plans to honor the boy with a joint resolution later this year.
Some Chester High School students are planning a “Black Lives Matter” march during spring break, the week after Easter. They’ll walk from downtown Chester past the Ashford Street spot where La’Darious died, said activist Michael Halsey, who has led the push for La’Darious to be recognized.
“His death will not be in vain,” Halsey said.
La’Darious’ mother, Liz McCrorey, has said she does not hate Johnson but wants to know why Johnson did not stop when she hit La’Darious.
Chester City Councilman Carlos Williams, who is La’Darious’ cousin, said he and his family know Johnson’s family well. In fact, he said, Johnson herself lost a daughter in a car crash more than a decade ago.
“This has been really tough all around, on all sides,” said Williams, who led an effort to have Chester’s Brooklyn Park renamed in memory of La’Darious. The city could not do that because the park is owned by a private trust.
Andrew Dys: 803-329-4065