SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - A former Missouri Southern State University football player has been charged in the deaths of two of his teammates in a December crash that left him seriously injured.
Jeremy Johnson, 20, is charged with two counts of manslaughter in the deaths of Diondre Johnson and Michael McCrimmons, both 19, The Springfield News-Leader reported. He pleaded not guilty Monday in Jasper County.
His bond was reduced to $1,500, with the consent of prosecutors, and his next court date was set for Aug. 16.
Prosecutors say Johnson, who had just wrapped up his freshman season on the football team, was driving drunk, speeding and lost control of the SUV he was driving, which rolled and collided with a tractor-trailer on Interstate 44 east of Sarcoxie. Diondre Johnson was thrown from the vehicle and McCrimmons was killed in the crash. Another passenger was injured.
Both Diondre Johnson and McCrimmons were from Springfield, Mo., and attended Parkview High School.
Jeremy Johnson, originally from Harrison, Ark., was struck by a passing car while moving away from the wreckage, has had several surgeries and still needs a wheelchair, according to his lawyer, Tyson Martin.
Martin told The Associated Press on Wednesday that everyone in the car that night was served alcohol at a Springfield nightclub before the crash. They were all under 21.
"This case is worth following because of what was going on before the boys were in accident," Martin said. "That casts a different light on situation. It has less to do with all the boys in the car and this accident shouldn't have happened at all. Sadly, we see way too many of these."
Diondre Johnson's mother, Dionna, said Jeremy Johnson was her son's friend. He faces up to 30 years in prison if found guilty.
"I don't want to see anyone else go through what I've been through. He needs to be an example -- to let other kids know if you wanna drink and you wanna drive these are the consequences you have to face," she said.
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