Man involved in fatal crash still driving

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by ERIC WILKINSON / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on August 14, 2013 at 5:16 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 14 at 5:20 PM

More than four months after being involved in a high speed chase that killed his friend, police say Rodrigue Johnstone is still on the road, and driving dangerously.

Johnstone was arraigned Wednesday after allegedly leading police on a short chase through downtown Everett on Saturday. A police report states he was speeding and nearly hit several people in a restaurant parking lot, before attempting to hide from officers.

It is the latest is a string of driving offenses that have followed Johnstone since the April 11 crash that killed his friend, 26-year-old Nick Peterson.

Investigators say at about 3 a.m. that morning, Johnstone was fleeing police and driving close to 100 mph when he crashed into Charlene Gutierrez’s Lake Stevens home, narrowly avoiding her three children.

“It would’ve ruined my life,” she said Wednesday. “They are my heart.”

More than 4 months later, Johnstone has not been charged. Yet, authorities say he continues to drive dangerously.

“That shocks me,” said Gutierrez. “I figured he’d either be in jail or be in the hospital.” 

KING 5 News has learned Johnstone has been arrested at least two more times since the crash that killed his friend. The first came in May for driving with a suspended license. Then came a reckless driving charge in July. Those are in addition to the latest charges involving the downtown Everett case.
“You'd think that guy losing a friend would learn,” said Gutierrez. “I hope he doesn't kill anyone else.”
 
On Wednesday, a spokeswoman for the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office could only say the case involves DNA, which can take months to process.

In the meantime, Charlene Gutierrez wonders what it will take to get Johnstone off the street. Her kids are still living with the trauma of the night “that man crashed through the house.” She has to console them every night at bedtime.

“I tell them it’s not gonna happen again. Mommy and Daddy will protect you.”

At last report, Johnstone was still held at the Snohomish County Jail on $6,500 bail.
 

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