Man pleads guilty in Clearwater hit-and-run that killed crossing guard

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) — The man accused of killing a crossing guard in 2014 in a hit-and-run crash in Clearwater pled guilty on Tuesday.

The crash happened after Julious Johnson blew through a stoplight at Gulf to Bay and Belcher Roads.

Johnson waived his right to a trial and accepted the 18-year sentence. He wanted a shorter sentence and explained to the judge that he wasn’t a bad person and he didn’t mean to kill Doug Carey.

“I feel sorry that this lady’s husband, what not, gone. But I can’t take, you know what I’m saying, take him back and I ain’t intentionally do that,” said Johnson.

Johnson was initially uncomfortable accepting the deal and kept trying to reason with the Judge William Burgess.

“That’s what I’m getting looked at as. That I just did this on purpose. Know what I’m saying? I am willing to take responsibility for what is going on but, know what I’m saying, 18 years is out of my range right now,” said Johnson.

Judge Burgess listened to Johnson but explained his plea deal was a good offer.

“I would say that this is a very generous offer and if it was left up to me based on what I know about it, Mr. Johnson,  you’re really in the best position right now,” said Judge Burgess.

When Johnson ran the stoplight, he hit another car and then hit Doug Carey. Carey was 70 years old and died instantly.

Police say Johnson ran away from the consequences and even left his two young daughters behind in his car.

Doug Carey’s family was too emotional to speak in court and had the state attorney read a statement.

“Nothing can bring our husband, father, grandfather back but you can honor the life of a man who spent his life helping and protecting others by ensuring Mr. Johnson doesn’t have the opportunity to hurt anyone else,” read Assistant State Attorney Doneene Loar.

Johnson accepted the plea and got a well-wish on the way out.

“You have the opportunity right now to pay your debt to society and put this behind you. Good luck Mr. Johnson,” said Judge Burgess.

Johnson was sentenced to 18 years and will get credit for time already served.

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