Man who hit crossing guard takes plea deal

Image 1 of 4

Julious Johnson agreed to a plea deal that will keep him behind bars for 18 years, although he told the judge the sentence was too stiff.

"I'm willing to take responsibility on what's going on but I just feel like 18 years is out of my range right now," said Johnson.

A little more than three years ago, Clearwater crossing guard Doug Carey was escorting children across Gulf to Bay Boulevard at Belcher Road when Julious Johnson ran a red light and hit another car.

That car slammed into Carey, killing him.

Instead of staying at the scene, Johnson took off leaving his two children behind in the mangled car.

Johnson was supposed to go to trial this month for vehicular manslaughter. But Tuesday morning he changed his mind and took the state's deal.

As Carey's widow and daughter watched from the gallery, Johnson told the judge he didn't do this on purpose. 

"I didn't intentionally do that but I feel like I'm coming to court and y'all looking at me like I woke up and said I gonna kill this man or something," said Johnson.

Before Johnson was sentenced, the prosecutor read a statement from Carey's family urging the judge not to go easy on Johnson.

"Nothing can bring our husband, father, grandfather back, but your honor, you can honor the man who spent his life helping and protecting others by ensuring that Mr. Johnson does not have the opportunity to hurt anyone else," said Carey's family.

Outside the court house Carey's crossing guard supervisor, Norman Runkles was relieved this chapter is behind them.

"It's not a great day to come to court and go through this but, in the end, it's been a good day," said Runkles.