JUNCTION CITY – A Texas man pleaded guilty to murder and involuntary manslaughter while driving under the influence, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said today.
Steven W. Johnson, 45, of Houston, pleaded guilty to one count of murder in the second degree – reckless and two counts of involuntary manslaughter (DUI). Judge Steven L. Hornbaker accepted the pleas Monday in Geary County District Court. The charges stemmed from a fatal crash on Interstate 70 in November 2016 that resulted in the deaths of Jessica Michelle Thompson and her two minor children.
According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, Johnson was driving an 2011 International truck on November 15, 2016, that went across the I-70 median into the westbound lanes near Grandview Plaza, about six miles east of U.S. 77, and struck a 2006 Ford Five Hundred driven by Thompson. Both vehicles ended up in the north ditch. Thompson, 26, and her daughter Leah, 5, were both pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, while Jaydon, 6, died later at Wesley Medical Center in Wichita.
Sentencing in the case is scheduled for June 1 at 1:30 p.m.
The case was investigated by the Kansas Highway Patrol. Assistant Attorney General Corey Kenney of Schmidt’s office is prosecuting the case.